The progress in meeting the aims of Article 12 of the UNCRC within the UK government and policy-making process has risen in the past years since 1991 when it was ratified by the United Kingdom.
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Article 12 of UNCRC states that “state parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight by the age and maturity of the child.
For this purpose, the child shall be allowed to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law’
Various structures and provisions have been put in place to ensure the active participation of children and young are in the interest of community planning in compliance with Article 12 of the UNCRC. This is in line with the UNCRC committee’s concluding observations which recommended that the Government take further steps to promote, facilitate and monitor systematic meaningful and effective participation of all groups of children in society and that the Government take further steps to reflect the obligations of Article 12 in legislation, and that legislation governing court procedures and administrative proceedings ensure that a child is capable of forming his/her views has the right to express those views and that they are given due weight delivering positive outcomes for children and young people.
Further to fulfill its commitment to safeguarding the rights and interests of children, the government of the UK passed the children act 2004. The Act sets out a framework of services that cover children and young people from birth to the age of nineteen years. The Act provides the legal framework for the reform. This news legislation was followed by a launch of a major strategy document for English authorities; every child matters and another one know as change for children. All these documents are intended to provide more information about the interests and rights of children in the UK.
Further in enhancing and meeting the aims of Article 12 of the UNCRC the government of the UK has implemented various strategies and policy papers in fulfilling this. Recently the Home secretary together with Executive Minister for Justice in Scotland came up with an action plan which among other things touched on child trafficking.
Included in the action plan report is the need to recognize the very special needs of the trafficked children. Towards this, the government has committed itself together with local authorities and representative organizations to work towards developing safe, responsive, and high-quality child care arrangements for those who have been trafficked and who may need protection. The government has further committed itself to carry out targeted preventative work with new immigrant communities. This is evident from the community partnership project in London.
Further to protect the interests of children, the establishment of Local Safeguarding Control Boards has been enhanced. The main objective of the Local Safeguarding Control Board is to coordinate and ensure the effectiveness of their member agencies in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the children.
In this regard, the government of the UK has implemented various policies to effect Article 12 of UNCRC. Every child must be allowed to express his views and also be heard. In addition, better facilities should be made available for use in schools and other institutions where children are housed. Special attention should be given to those children with disabilities.
The enactment of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 is also a milestone in ensuring that the rights and interests of children are protected. This Act ensures that each child has access to the best education he/she wishes to attain. The act further goes to provide that concern must be taken to ensure that the environment in which children are encompassed is clean and conducive for the children well being. Therefore all these processes and policies have been enacted by the government for the interest of children.
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