Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Children`s rights and the Scottish Children`s Parliament

The children in the video below are happy to spend a day with the Children`s Parliament. They obviously enjoy the activities and artwork and the opportunity to have their say about their lives. However, probe a little deeper into the Children`s Parliament and there is a more worrying agenda.
Since 1996, Children’s Parliament has worked directly with children, their parents, carers and other family members as well as teachers and other professionals in children’s lives. Scotland faces many challenges and how we achieve transformational change is increasingly debated.
Children’s issues are more widely recognised – in awareness and more recently legislation – and in response Children’s Parliament has become Scotland’s leading national participation and consultation organisation. Our work connects and influences Curriculum for Excellence, the GIRFEC model and changes to the way we approach children in their early years through reinvigorated efforts to ensure early intervention.
At the heart of all our work is a commitment to the human rights of children and increasing adults’ understanding of how children’s rights enhance relationships and wellbeing. Working effectively also means working collaboratively. Children’s Parliament has built partnerships across the third sector and is an active supporter of Together, Scotland’s alliance of voluntary sector agencies working for implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Some of the issues covered by the Children`s Parliament include:

(1) transformational change
(2) Curriculum for Excellence
(4) early intervention
(5) working collaboratively
(6) United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

These concepts are interrelated and `transformational change` is the umbrella term which is never defined.  

One problem with the UNCRC is that it puts a wedge between parents and children. (As do GIRFEC and early interventions) State agents are then free to arbitrate on behalf of children and to interpret the child`s `best interest` as they see fit.
The Goodman Chronicle explores some possible scenarios:
Persuading the children to follow in the "spirit of the ideals" of the United Nations, and convincing them they have special "rights", is an important aspect of the CRC. As with many United Nations programs, propaganda through mass media, children's literature, and more, will play a major role in shifting the public's, and mainly the children's, attitudes in favor of the CRC: 
A critical thinker, at this point, may question, if the goals of the CRC are to promote the "harmonious development" of the child, why the rights of the child would differ from the parent's beliefs? 
To understand the United Nation`s contempt for parents, here is an extract from Rescue Mission: Planet Earth, a children`s edition of Agenda 21:
The major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, particularly in the industrialised countries. (Agenda 21, chapter 4)
But it isn`t easy for the children of today. They`re attacked by a commercial army of plastic monsters, cuddly toys and electronic games, 24 hours a day from all directions, especially in developed countries where children often spend almost all their free time in front of a TV.  Many parents don`t have time for their children, so they try to compensate by giving them anything money can buy. Yet a mountain of teddy bears is no consolation for a lonely child. Adults are really just big children...
Together: Scottish Alliance for Children`s Rights spells it out quite succinctly:
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) defines the context in which parenting takes place.

The Children`s Parliament works collaboratively with its partners to pursue children`s rights, that is, to pursue the agenda of the United Nations for transformational change, without ever stating clearly what society is to be transformed into, but there is a good reason for that. Giving power to a handful of global administrators to manage the world is not part of most people`s vision of the future.  


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