The Brexit process has, thus far, ignored the voices of children and young people.
We, the undersigned, represent over 1800 children’s rights organisations across Europe and believe the rights of children and young people must be protected and championed as part of the process.
Children and young people in the United Kingdom and across the EU will be the most impacted in the long term by the Brexit vote, yet they have had no opportunity to have their opinions heard on this issue by decision-makers.
Together the UK, EU institutions and all EU Governments have a role to play in ensuring the rights of children are prioritised at the negotiating table.
We are calling for action to be taken to bring children into the heart of negotiations on Brexit by:
• Developing a mechanism to listen to children and young people as part of the Brexit negotiation process;
• Providing assurances that there will be no roll back on the existing rights of children and young people in the UK and across the EU;
• Ensuring that future positive children’s rights developments will be recognised by all parties to negotiations;
• Continuing to recognise the importance of the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process. Its prioritisation in the current negotiating guidelines of the EU is welcome as it is essential to minimise the potential harm caused to children from Brexit, in particular in Northern Ireland.
Crucially, we are seeking a dialogue with key EU and UK negotiators, Mr Michel Barnier of the European Commission, Mr Guy Verhofstadt of the European Parliament and The Rt. hon. David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, to discuss these recommendations in order to ensure that children’s rights are safeguarded and their voices heard in the Brexit negotiations process.
To inform this process, a number of children's rights academics and civil society organisations across the UK, including the European Children's Rights Unit (Liverpool), CORAM (London), the Children's Legal Centre (Belfast), the Centre for Children's Rights (Belfast) and the Wales Observatory for the Human Rights of Children and Young People (Swansea) are developing a range of briefing papers and holding workshops to draw attention to the key priorities for children across different parts of the UK.
This Statement was drafted by five national partner networks of Eurochild (Children in Northern Ireland, Children in Scotland, Children in Wales, Children’s Rights Alliance England and Children’s Rights Alliance, Ireland) and is supported by Eurochild and by the following national partner networks and other organisations in the membership of Eurochild below:
List of supporters (in alphabetical order of country):
• National Coalition for the Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Austria
• National Network for Children, Bulgaria
• Coordination of Associations for Children, Croatia
• Pancyprian Coordinating Committee for the Protection and Welfare of Children, Cyprus
• Defence for Children, Czech Republic
• Joint Council for Child Issues, Denmark
• Estonian Union for Child Welfare, Estonia
• Central Union for Child Welfare, Finland
• Federation of associations for child protection, France
• Family, Child, Youth Association, Hungary
• Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection, Kosovo
• Dutch Coalition on Children’s Rights, Netherlands
• Network of Organizations for Children of Serbia
• Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth, Slovenia