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Make Our Rights Reality

Posted on December 9, 2014

Published on the eve of International Human Rights Day, and just two weeks after the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Make Our Rights Reality manifesto and campaign was launched today, developed by hundreds of young people across England and championed by 2014 Clore Social Fellow Baljeet Sandhu.

I’m a member of the JustRights Campaign steering committee, a campaign we started in 2009 for fair access for children and young people to advice, advocacy and legal representation. Following the cuts to legal aid in 2013 and continuing threats to the advice sector and public services many children and young people are routinely denied their rights and as a result are put at risk of harm, abuse, destitution and exploitation.

JustRights have had the pleasure of working alongside, and being inspired by, children and young people who have now developed their own manifesto and campaign which is launched today: Make Our Rights Reality.

In the manifesto, young people stress that they want to be able to help themselves but simply don’t understand their rights and don’t know where to turn for help. They are calling for wholesale changes to ensure authorities respect their rights and protect them from harm.

100’s of children and young people, including our young clients at the Migrant & Refugee Children’s Legal Unit , contributed to the manifesto. They shared information about the problems they face and the barriers they experience in accessing advice and support across all areas of law, including education, housing, welfare benefits, health employment and immigration.

The manifesto calls on the Government to ensure all young people have:

• Easy access to correct information

•Access to independent advice services in their local area

• Free access to solicitors who specialise in working with young people

• CAB’s to be more young person-friendly

• Services tailored to meet their individual needs

•Their interests to be put first – above those of the system.

We need you to add your voice to the campaign and help make ignoring young peoples’ voices as difficult as possible for the Government. Read the manifesto and sign the petition calling on the Government to review young people’s access to information, advice and legal support. You can also tweet your support with the hashtag .

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Baljeet Sandhu

Baljeet Sandhu

Child rights champion

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