Focus: The Identity Trust today were invited to the Senate Room in Queen’s University Belfast, to attend an “NGO Alternative Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child”
This initiative was Hosted by the Centre for Children’s Rights.
During the consultation we highlighted the following issues, which will hopefully be included in the alternative report.
1. Articles 28 and 29 of the UNHCR dictates that states need to recognise the right of the child to an education on the basis of equal opportunity, and that the objectives of that education should be directed towards including the development of the child’s personality, talents and physical abilities.
Focus: The Identity Trust argued that clearly in the North of Ireland these fundamental rights of gender variant children and transgender adolescents are not being acted upon nor are they enshrined in policy and practice.
2. We highlighted the problems and concerns children have in being enrolled in schools or continuing or re-entering education particularly transgender children, children with disabilities, children of travellers, Roma children, asylum seekers children and teenage mothers.
3. In implementing article 12, it is essential the principle of respect for the views of the child be recognised and respected, this is particularly important for gender variant children and transgender adolescents who not only face prejudice from their peers, education professionals and staff members, members of boards of governors, but also too often from their parents.
This sparked much debate about the age at which a child has the capacity to make appropriate decisions for themselves and therefore the age at which their views must take precedence over parental and “professional” opinion.
We look forward to seeing these issues included in the NGO Alternative Report and the UK government and N.I. Executive being questioned in the formal examination by the committee on the Rights of the Child on these issues.
Formal examination in the UK government is due to take place in May/June 2016