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Brexit: children’s rights at risk or future opportunity in the global era?

Children live in a different world to their parents and grandparents. For them the virtual world has no borders. Around 1 in 15 children were born to a parent not born
in the UK; and in 2015 over 1 in 4 births were to women born outside the UK. Children’s home environments, their classrooms and their wider world are different places from the past and they live in a rapidly changing global environment.

It is in this context that the British Government will need to address and define its obligations to children in the UK who will in future be outside the EU framework. This will take a determined process and programme to ensure that every child can face the future with safety and security through and beyond the transition out of the EU.

Leaving the EU provides us collectively with the opportunity to review the guarantees we give to our children. Particular areas for attention as we make the transition include:

  • The citizenship or residence status of children, especially for children brought up in the UK, and those brought up in local authority care.
  • The citizenship or residence status of the parents of children brought up in the UK.
  • An impact assessment of the changes in EU funds to ensure that children accessing services currently funded by the EU do not experience any unfair disadvantage due to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
  • Current provisions of international commitments to support and protect children are maintained and enhanced.
  • Making a concerted effort to promote community cohesion and prevent children from experiencing xenophobic bullying and intimidation.

As the UK's oldest charity dedicated to the welfare and rights of children, Coram calls for the following:

  • As part of the Great Repeal Bill, we call on the UK Government to guarantee and secure children’s rights continuously from the day the UK leaves the EU.
  • Children need permanence, safety and security if they are to thrive. We call on the UK Government to guarantee the positions of children and their family members who have made their home in the UK and wish to stay to ensure that children’s needs are met.
  • We call on the UK Government to launch a Task Force on Children’s Rights and Responsibilities to propose and frame provision on the rights and opportunities for our children as part of the new British Bill of Rights and incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its protocols fully into UK law.