More than 250 secondary schools across the capital are to be given a free copy of Know Your Rights and Claim Them: A Guide for Youth, published by Amnesty International and written by Angelina Jolie and Professor Geraldine Van Bueren QC, one of the original drafters of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Amnesty says that Know Your Rights and Claim Them is the first book for young people that clearly explains child rights and what they mean.
This book, aimed at teenagers, explains children’s rights, “empowering them with the confidence and knowledge they need to help to make a fairer, happier world”, Amnesty says.
The initiative, funded by the Lightbulb Trust, is a collaboration between Amnesty International UK and the School Library Association. Free copies of the book and teaching resources will be sent to more than 250 SLA member schools in London to “help children to develop the knowledge and confidence they need to stand up for themselves and others, as well as support school staff to have crucial conversations about rights and what they mean”.
Child rights are freedoms and protections designed to help everyone under the age of 18 grow and flourish. Amnesty, in a press statement issued today, adds, “though there is often a big gap between rights and reality”.
Ratified by the British government in 1991, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) stipulates that all children and adults should be educated about child rights. With this project, Amnesty, the SLA and the Lightbulb Trust are taking steps to make this happen.
Amnesty says, “Crafted with the active participation of children and young people, Know Your Rights and Claim Them explains what child rights are and why they matter in the real world. From gender and racial equality to the right to freedom of expression, health, a clean climate and a sustainable environment, it provides young people with the valuable knowledge and tools to help them claim what belongs to them and flourish.”
The book also celebrates the difference young activists have already made in every corner of the world and shows young people how they too can challenge injustice and support each other in times of need. It provides advice on peaceful protest, how to navigate the law, raise awareness at school and in the community, how to start a campaign and get those in power to listen.
And it includes vital guidance on staying safe, keeping a close eye on their digital security and looking after their mental health.
Even though the UNCRC gives children the right to know their rights, YouGov polling commissioned by Amnesty found that 83per cent of British children aged from eight to 15 said they know little or nothing about their own rights.
- 64% of children said they knew only a little about their rights
- 19% said they didn’t know anything at all
- Just 17% of the young people approached in the poll felt they knew a lot about their rights
Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s chief executive, said, “This is a very timely initiative to give school children something positive and empowering to focus on in challenging times.
“Children not only have rights, but they also have a right to know about them.
“We hope this book-drop goes a long way to informing young people about their rights and their power to claim them, and forge a fairer future for themselves and others.”
Alison Tarrant, from the SLA, said, “Children today are growing up in a world which is more divided and more conflicted than before – not just between countries, but in terms of social discourse and the threat of climate change.
“Understanding their rights is important as we try to find solutions and create a kinder, more empathetic society. We are pleased to be helping schools to discuss the topics within the books and help all children understand and implement their rights.”
And Ben and Salome Holden, the co-founders of the Lightbulb Trust, said, “We believe in the power of learning to change lives for the better. We jumped at the chance to help spread the word of Know Your Rights by supporting this important initiative from Amnesty and SLA.
“This revelatory book ingeniously closes the most fundamental of knowledge gaps, by elucidating the rights of younger people. These freedoms are perilously seldom acknowledged – let alone understood or promoted – by societies the world over. They currently feel more crucial than ever to champion.”
- For more information, please visit: www.amnesty.org.uk/know-your-rights-and-claim-them
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Oh dear, let’s hope the Government don’t find out! Children being educated about human rights at a time when the Tories want to leave the international convention we helped draft? That would never do!