With Anti-Bullying Week between the 16th to 20th November, we have decided to make this week's Article of the Week focus on not one, but THREE articles.
Thinking about how non-discrimination (2), respect for children’s views (12) and protection from violence, abuse and neglect (19) intersect when it comes to bullying can be really powerful in providing a neutral language to tackle this difficult topic.
Article 2: All children have the right not to be discriminated against.
Article 2 says all children have the rights set out in the UNCRC, and individual children and young people shouldn’t be discriminated against when these rights are realised. This covers both direct and indirect discrimination.
Article 12: I have the right to be listened to and taken seriously
One of the things the UNCRC does is to make it clear that human rights apply to children and young people as much they do to adults.
Children and young people don’t have as much power as adults: they can’t vote, and they don’t have as much money. But Article 12 says they still have the human right to have opinions and for these opinions to be heard and taken seriously.
It says that the opinions of children and young people should be considered when people make decisions about things that involve them. Their opinions shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand on the grounds of age, but taken seriously with their evolving capacities taken into account. Article 12 also says children and young people should be given the information they need to make good decisions.
Article 12 is also concerned with making sure children and young people feel able to express their opinions. It says that they shouldn’t feel their opinions will be dismissed or regarded as invalid because of their age. It also says that children and young people need to know about this right so that they can exercise it, and that adults need to know about this right so they don’t dismiss it out of hand.
As well as this, children and young people should be able to complain about any aspect of their lives as easily as adults can. They should have ways to complain about those in a position of power over them – such as parents, guardians or teachers – without an adult knowing, and complaints procedures should be easy for them to access.
Article 19: I have the right to be protected from being hurt or badly treated
Article 19 of the UNCRC makes it clear that children and young people have the basic human right to dignity. This means they have the right to be protected from violence, just like everybody else.
If someone uses violence against a child or young person, it’s never acceptable or justifiable. It should be possible for them to report a violent act in a safe and confidential way, and reports made by young people should be investigated by the authorities.
It should be possible for a person who commits an act of violence against a child or young person to be taken to court. When this happens, the child or young person who the act was committed against shouldn’t be discriminated against because someone has been violent towards them, or because they’ve spoken up about it.