Championing Children’s Rights

As a Professor of Children’s Rights in Edge Hill’s Faculty of Education, and a children’s rights expert, Professor Carol Robinson is constantly aware that the rights of millions of children across the world are not being met.

Carol said: “Almost daily we hear about instances of intolerance, discrimination, conflict and inequality which impact negatively on basic human rights and freedoms. We all have rights, including the right to dignity, fairness, equality, and respect. Children also have additional rights to protect them from harm and to promote their agency and participation in decision making.

“The sad reality is that for many children their rights are not respected and, in times of crisis, be it the pandemic when millions of the world’s children lost out on valuable teaching time, or when children’s lives are affected by war, the number of children rights violations increases significantly.

“The current situation in Ukraine is a stark reminder that human rights cannot be taken for granted. We are witnessing the basic human rights and freedoms of the Ukrainian people being routinely violated and the blatant disregard for human dignity. Children are being forced to face the realities of war, fleeing for their lives and giving up their old lives.

“I recently attended a forum of top human rights experts organised by the Council of Europe looking specifically at how to implement their Charter for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education which aims to make human rights education universal in European schools.

“During discussions, I emphasised that human rights education should start at the earliest opportunity so that even the youngest members of society know about their rights and those of others, and, importantly, understand the values that underpin these rights.

“If children had a better understanding of their rights, and there was a common understanding across societies that everyone has equal rights to fairness and dignity, it would reduce injustices and instances where the rights of some are not respected.

“As educators, times of crisis should strengthen our determination to advance rights education for children and show that the benefits of transformative citizenship and human rights education can help prepare children for living together peacefully in a multicultural society where diversity, equality and respect for each other’s rights are valued.”

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