Opinion Former Article

Children's rights under attack

The NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK has condemned the Government’s attack on basic civil and human rights, including the right to education.

Speaking at an NASUWT fringe meeting at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, NASUWT’s Deputy General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach condemned the Government’s attempts to undermine the Human Rights Act and curb the ability of trade unions to advocate and represent the interests of their members through the Trade Union Bill.

Dr Roach also highlighted the proposals contained in the Education and Adoption Bill, which will effectively prevent parents from having a say in the type of school in which their children are educated, warning this presents an unprecedented assault on their fundamental rights and freedoms.

Dr Roach called on the Labour Party to work with the NASUWT to expose and challenge the Government’s agenda.

Also speaking was: Lord Falconer of Thoroton, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Louise King, Co-Director of the Children’s Alliance for England.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT Deputy General Secretary, said:

“The Government has orchestrated countless shameful attacks on the rights and entitlements of our children and young people, including the removal of the right to education free at the point of use.

“Abusing the legislative process to seek to gag critics and stifle opposition is a chilling theme running through far too many of this Government's legislative plans and we all should be concerned when Governments abuse their power to attack fundamental rights and freedoms.

“This can only result in the silencing of the voices of children and those who advocate for children. We cannot secure human rights and quality education for children when the rights of teachers and educators are being attacked.

“Now is the time for all those who value the hard fought for democratic rights and freedoms to expose and oppose the Government’s agenda.”

Lord Falconer said:

“I am incredibly conscious of the fact that the voice of the child, whether by politicians or in the court system, is much, much weaker than it should be and that politicians and the court system have the principal responsibility in ensuring that the interests of children are put first. That obligation is a moral obligation and our society is gravely weakened if we do not do all that we can to promote the interests of children.”

Louise King said:

“We have a real opportunity to push for change. Children must be placed at the heart of our society and our government and be invisible no more.”


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