24 Mar 2015

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive, comments on the Human Rights Joint Committee's Eighth Report on the UK's compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which says the UK's commitment to children’s rights don’t go far enough.

'It is appalling that children’s rights including those around immigration and poverty continue to suffer, and we welcome the conclusions of this report which shine a light on these serious issues.

'As the report recognises, without substantial changes in policy, the likelihood of the Government meeting its legal duty to eliminate child poverty by 2020 is unachievable. Estimates show that in the next five years, an additional 700,000 children will be trapped in poverty. To address this, we are urgently calling for the next Government to tackle child poverty by increasing benefits for children at least in line with rises in the cost of living and by extending free school meals to all children in poverty.

'We are deeply worried that legal aid has been scrapped for migrant children who are new to this country, and that the Government is focusing on immigration control instead of the child’s needs. Without financial support for legal help, these children may go unrepresented in court and lose access to justice. These vulnerable children must be given access to legal aid.

'Keeping children safe from harm and protecting their human rights should be a top priority for any Government.'