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Barnet’s partnership with Unicef UK
Barnet is the first London borough to work towards recognition as a Unicef child friendly community. The Council will work in partnership with Unicef’s child rights partners team to embed children’s rights in local governance, policy and practice. Unicef UK will support Barnet to achieve a series of badges that will mark gradual progress on a journey towards becoming a child friendly community. The Council and its partners will be supported through provision of training, capacity building activities, advice and guidance.
What is a child friendly community?
Child friendly cities and communities (CFC) is a Unicef programme that translates Unicef’s global mission – to advance children’s rights and wellbeing – into action at a local level.
Creating child friendly cities and communities is about a genuine and enduring commitment to children’s rights as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It’s about creating and sustaining places where the voices, needs, priorities and rights of children are an integral part of public policies, programmes and decisions. The term ‘child friendly’ is therefore not just about baby-changing facilities and asking for children’s views on play equipment – although both are important. Child friendly initiatives are about bringing children and communities closer together. It’s about supporting all children to be the best they can be and helping them engage actively with their communities. It is about valuing children, here and now, and working in partnership with communities to support and protect the most vulnerable children.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (The Convention) is a groundbreaking human rights document that sets out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that all children everywhere are entitled to. Agreed in 1989 by governments from across the world, the Convention recognises the same rights for all children to be treated with dignity and fairness, to be protected, to develop to their full potential and to participate in the lives of their families, communities and the wider society.
Importantly, the Convention says what governments must do to ensure all children can enjoy their rights, regardless of who they are, or where they are from. The UK Government joined the Convention in 1991 which means all government institutions and public services – such as schools, social services and health providers – have a duty to protect children’s rights in everything they do.
The Convention covers all aspects of a child’s life, from the right to education, health and protection from abuse, to the right to freedom of expression and privacy. The Convention must be seen as a whole: all the rights are connected and no right is more important that another.
The Convention is an important document as it defines children as human beings in their own right, and not just as ‘adults-in-the-making’. Within the Convention, children are not viewed as ‘property’ of their family or passive recipients – they are actors in their own lives, capable of navigating and influencing their environment.