HC Deb 22 March 2004 vol 419 c634W
Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills in what ways his Department is carrying forward the Government's commitment to the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child. [161414]

Margaret Hodge

[holding answer 17 March 2004]: Many of the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child have been reflected in the Government's priorities for many years, such as ensuring the rights of children to education, health, housing and safety, freedom from poverty and the right to participate in decisions that affect them.

Recent action taken by the Government further to promote the provisions of the Convention includes the following: the introduction of the Children Bill. This aims to improve the systems for preventing abuse and neglect such as that suffered by Victoria Climbié. In the spirit of Articles 4 and 12 of the Convention, it will with Parliamentary approval also set up a post of Children's Commissioner in England, whose task it will be to collect children's views, act as their champion and ensure that they have access to quick and easy complaints procedures; the draft Advocacy Services and Representations Procedure (Children)(Amendment) Regulations 2004, which were laid on 11 March 2004 (SI 2004/719) under the Adoption and Children Act 2002. When made, these Regulations will impose on local authorities the duty to make arrangements for the provision of advocacy services for children and young people making or intending to make a complaint, again in the context of Article 12 of the Convention; ratification on 24 June 2003 of the Optional Protocol on the involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, in the context of Article 38: the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which brought UK legislation on sexual offences in England and Wales into line with the requirements of the Optional on the sale of children, prostitution and pornography. When implemented in May 2004, it will introduce further new offences such as paying for sex with a child and causing or inciting child prostitution or pornography, as well as further extending the controls on child trafficking, in the context of Articles 34 and 35 of the Convention.

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