Hearing children’s views on post Brexit Britain

Children and young people will have their views heard on the potential impact of Brexit, during a conference organised by the University of Liverpool’s European Children’s Rights Unit (ECRU).

Part of the University’s School of Law and Social Justice, ECRU is the only research unit Europe with a distinct expertise in children’s rights in the context of the European Union. The event will open with a presentation from Liverpool primary school children who will talk about their understanding of the impact the UK’s vote to leave the EU could have on them, their lives and their rights as young people.

Fundamental problem

Young adults aged between 16 and 18 will also speak. Denied the opportunity to vote on June 23, teenagers with opinions from across the spectrum will deliver their views on the political, legal and cultural earthquake the referendum delivered.

ECRU’s Dr Jamie-Lee Mooney helped organise the conference, she said: “There is a general consensus that children do not understand and therefore should not be consulted on these important issues.

“I think this is a fundamental problem that will limit the focus on children’s rights in post Brexit discussions. It is extremely concerning given that children are the ones who are likely to live through the full consequences in the future.

“If we are going to talk about children’s rights and their lives then why not involve children in our discussions. This is an important feature of ECRU’s work and a distinctive feature of this event”

“If we are going to talk about children’s rights and their lives then why not involve children in our discussions. This is an important feature of ECRU’s work and a distinctive feature of this event.”

“Children as young as eight-years-old will be speaking and even though they may have a limited understanding of how Brexit will impact them, now more than ever, children are becoming aware of their rights, particularly since it has become part of the national curriculum.

“A key priority and the underpinning rationale of the event is to draw together the main concerns posed by Brexit with regard to children’s rights and to explore ways in which these can be taken into consideration in post Brexit negotiations.”

As well as hearing from young people directly, the conference will involve a presentation by Professor Michael Freeman. As the leading international scholar on children’s rights, and an honorary professor with ECRU, Professor Freeman will discuss the extent to which Brexit will impact on the development of children’s rights in the UK more generally.

Uphold children’s rights

The afternoon is then split regionally and thematically. Speakers will offer perspectives from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, before thematic issues come to the fore.

Dr Mooney, whose research investigates child sexual abuse and grooming, said: “The children will talk about a range of issues including education, employment, climate change, immigration and welfare; all of these issues, including child protection, are going to need careful consideration to ensure we uphold children’s rights and protection of the most vulnerable post Brexit.”

As well as academics and young people, the conference will include representatives from local government, children’s rights charities and practitioners.

Children’s Rights and Brexit: Perspectives and Prospects is a European Children’s Rights Unit event taking place today (September 14) from 1pm – 5pm in the Eleanor Rathbone Theatre, Eleanor Rathbone Building, University of Liverpool.

ECRU has prepared a number of short briefing papers, Shining the Spotlight on Children, to explain the potential impact of Brexit on different aspects of children’s rights.

Follow the discussion live @LIVEChildRights



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