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Jersey celebrates extension of UNCRC

24 June 2014

UNICEF UK Deputy Director Anita Tiessen and Jersey Ministers have joined pupils at Grouville School today (Tuesday 24 June) to celebrate the extension of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to Jersey.

A special assembly, directed by Grouville pupils, was addressed by Ms Tiessen and the Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, and pupils took part in activity workshops to show Ministers and Ms Tiessen their knowledge of the UNCRC.

Grouville School has been taking part in a Unicef initiative called Rights Respecting Schools which aims to embed UNCRC principles in primary and secondary schools. Grouville are hoping to attain their level 1 accreditation.

Poster design

As part of this work, pupils took part in a competition to design posters illustrating a number of the rights which are now decorating the school and have been used to produce Jersey’s own child-friendly version of the rights of the child document.

Senator Gorst said "Part of the commitment we have made is to ensure, not only that government policy takes proper account of children’s rights, but that Jersey children all understand their rights and their place in our community. The child-friendly document has been developed to use clear language and has been brought to life by the Grouville artwork."

Deputy head teacher Maria Stegenwalner said that staff and pupils at the school had been working with the rights since 2010.

 "We are really excited that the extension of the rights to Jersey is being celebrated at Grouville. Our children enjoy learning about their rights, and are becoming really good at thinking about how they will work in a practical context – for example, as all children have the right to relax and play, what do they have to do in order to make sure that everyone enjoys this right.  It’s really helped them think about the choices they make," she said.

Protecting and upholding children's rights

The extension of the UNCRC commits the States of Jersey to protecting and upholding children’s rights and to being assessed by the United Nations on its progress.

The UNCRC is an international agreement, introduced by the United Nations in 1989, which sets out a list of rights that belong to every child under 18 years old. These rights include:

  • the right to a childhood, including protection from harm
  • the right to be educated   
  • the right to be treated fairly, including changing laws and practices that are unfair on children
  • the right to be heard, including considering children's views

Senator Gorst said "This is a very significant development. Extension of the Convention provides the States of Jersey with a framework within which we can consider the extent to which our laws, policies and services protect and empower children and young people."

The Chair of the Children’s Policy Group, Deputy Anne Pryke, said "It has been a key objective of the Children’s Policy Group to achieve this extension of the UNCRC. It provides our children and young people with a clear set of rights, and helps bring those rights to the top of the agenda."

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