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Report of the UK Children’s Commissioners: UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Examination of the Fifth Periodic Report of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

1.1 This is the joint report of the four United Kingdom Children’s Commissioners for the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s examination of the UK’s Fifth Periodic Report under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Our collaborative effort evidences our commitment to work together to improve the lives of children and young people in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

1.2 The Commissioners are independent holders of public office whose respective remits extend to England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales but do not include Crown Dependencies or Overseas Territories. The statutory functions of the Commissioners differ but all centre upon the promotion and protection of the rights of children within their jurisdiction, in particular under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The views and experiences of children1 inform the work of all the Commissioners.

1.3 Within the United Kingdom a range of functions of central government are now devolved to the Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh administrations, all of which have their own executives and legislatures. The level of devolution varies for each nation. The devolved and reserved policy areas are set out in Appendix 3 of the State Party report.2 While some important children’s rights issues – notably child poverty and immigration – are common across the UK, the approach taken by government differs on a number of children’s rights issues across the four UK nations. For example, the status of incorporation of the UNCRC itself is very different. For this reason we include nation-specific information and recommendations in this report, while recognising that it is the UK State Party that remains ultimately responsible for the implementation of the UNCRC across all its territory. We also encourage the Committee to hear from the devolved governments during the UK examination since it can be difficult for them to feed in to the reporting process.