February Newsletter

UN 94th Session on Human Rights

This month Rocio attended the 94th pre-session at the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva, Switzerland. A pre-session meeting is an opportunity for children’s human rights defenders, such as children’s commissioners and civil society organisations, to meet with the UN committee to discuss the situation of children’s rights in the UK. Rocio spoke about the impact of cost of living crisis and how discrimination is affecting children in Wales. More information about the issues raised with the Committee can be read in the report here.

Young people from Wales also attended the pre-session, as well as a separate children’s meeting, where they spoke passionately about their experiences of poverty and discrimination. Here’s one quote by a young person in Wales “In the town where I live, 1 in 3 people are struggling to make ends meet. Rather than look forward to my own future and the future of Wales, I dread it and that’s not how it should be for me as a young person.”

Young People’s Advisory Panel members meeting the Minister for Climate Change

This month, two of our young people’s advisory panel members met with Julie James MS, the Minister for Climate Change for a discussion. They told her all about their work on the European Network of Young Advisors (ENYA) project last year, which focused on the theme ‘Let’s Talk Young. Let’s Talk Climate Justice’, and where they were elected by their peers on the project to represent Wales at an international forum in the Basque Country. The young people developed policy recommendations as part of this project and shared these with the Minister. In return, they learned about some of the steps the Welsh Government are taking to tackle climate change and discovered that Wales are currently ranked 3rd in the world for recycling! The Young People’s Advisory Panel hopes to take more climate action this year, this includes setting up a climate change subgroup of the panel.

You can find out more about the ENYA project and the young people’s policy recommendations at ENYA 2022 on our website.


Welcoming New Members to the Young People Advisory Panel

We welcomed 25 new members to our young people’s advisory panel this month. We kicked off by hosting a training session for them all. This allowed the members from every corner of Wales to meet each other before the first in-person meeting. It was great to see young people engaging in the activities and excited to start in their new roles with such enthusiasm. The session was joined by a current member of the panel. She shared her experiences on the panel and the things she has learnt. This included gaining confidence and learning how different children have varying views on issues in Wales. Activities started conversations on why children and young people need additional rights and why it is important for adults to ensure that their rights are protected were also included. It showed why the office’s work is important in promoting children’s rights in Wales. It was a great introduction for the new members who are now looking forward to working with the rest of the panel.

You can find out more about the Young People’s Advisory Panel on our website.

BINOCC Meeting

A key feature of our work this year has been our joint publication with the children’s commissioners of Scotland and Northern Ireland to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Our publication available on our website details our thoughts on how our respective jurisdictions protect and promote children’s rights. We were delighted to host, Bruce, Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, and Koulla, Northern Ireland’s Commissioner for Children and Young people at our office in Port Talbot recently. We were joined virtually by commissioners from England, Ireland and Jersey and discussed ways which we could do further joint work on key concerns as well as sharing interesting practices.


Young People Advisory Panel Meeting

To finish a busy month for the Young People’s Advisory Panel two in person meetings were held during the half term break in North and South Wales. It was great for the members to meet each other in person in Merthyr Tydfil and Llandudno Junction. A fantastic chance to get to know each other and start on their work as panel members. Great discussions were held about different issues such as public transport and gender based bullying! Thank you all who were able to attend!