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Children’s Rights in picture form are more than a symbolic gesture

22nd November 2016

A new resource using symbols and simple language to represent the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was launched today [Tuesday, Nov 22] designed specifically to reach children and young people who are non-verbal, have speech and language difficulties or have additional support needs. It is a world first and is designed as a communication tool that can be used to convey ideas and information and expand the learning of the UNCRC to all children.

The joint resource has been produced by the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, and the Children’s Commissioner for England. In Scotland, children and young people from Newark Nursery, Inverclyde; Annette Street Primary School, Glasgow; Garnetbank Primary School, Glasgow; Coresford School, Renfrewshire; Royal High School, Edinburgh and cubs from the 10th Cumbernauld Scouts gave their views on the symbols during the development stage, and changes were made based on their feedback.

There are 42 articles within the UNCRC, an international law that countries should obey. Its four guiding principles are:

• All the rights guaranteed by the UNCRC must be available to all children and young people without discrimination. (Article 2)
• The best interests of the child or young person must always come first. (Article 3)
• The views of children and young people must be considered and taken into account in all matters affecting them. (Article 12)
• All children and young people have the right to life, survival and development. (Article 6)

Speaking at the launch of the resource Scotland’s Commissioner, Tam Baillie said:“These rights are for every child and young person under the age of 18 and it is a big part of my job to ensure that young people understand their rights and know how to act on them. While the articles themselves can be complex, they contain very simple yet aspirational messages that translate well into picture form.

“The UNCRC carries an undertaking to protect, understand and respect young people and I want to provide all young people with the means to understand these articles and to know that they and their rights are valued.

“Working with young people to create the resource has been the key to getting something that teachers, youth workers and anyone else working with young people can easily use and adapt”

The 42 articles are depicted using symbols, produced by Widgit Software, and some support text, making the meaning clearer and easier to understand. They provide a visual representation of a concept. The symbols resource can provide access to information that supports independence and participation, creativity and self-expression and helping communication, literacy and learning.

Gerry McMurtrie, Unicef UK – Scotland, said: “As part of our Rights Respecting Schools award we work with schools across the country to create safe and inspiring places to learn, where children are respected, and their rights are protected.

“We know that schools and early years settings especially those committed to becoming Rights Respecting, will welcome this innovative way of making the Articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child accessible to more children and young people.”

The symbols are available in downloadable format or as printed materials, which includes A4 sized cards, a poster and information sheet. They are available from www.cypcs.org.uk/uncrcsymbols or for a printed pack please contact administration@cypcs.org.uk