Nick is a father-of-three. He's a firefighter and goes to "neeh-naah" work, as his children call it. Nick and his girls are one of the families that Unicef UK has worked with over the summer holidays, on a new film to help shine a spotlight on children's rights in the UK.
Unicef UK talked to families across the country and asked them what they wanted for their children, including their hopes and aspirations. All the parents were calling for simple things. No one was asking for anything extravagant for their children. They wanted the day to day basics that we all need to live a good life - a safe home, food on the table, a loving family and opportunities to learn.
Nick said that he wants his daughters to always feel safe: safe to make their own way in the world, and safe to come back to him for help, whenever they need it.
Other parents told us they wanted their children to play and to be children for as long as possible. They wanted their children to work hard, expand their minds and be true to themselves. To grow up respecting others; to stand up for injustices whilst learning and growing; and to have the freedom to map out their own path.
All the parents wanted what was right for their children - and all of these things are their children's human rights.
What families told us echoed the aspirations underpinning the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been ratified by nearly every country in the world. By doing this, governments have taken on a legally binding obligation to respect, protect and promote children's rights. The Convention forms the basis of all Unicef's work both in the UK and overseas and although it may sound like an abstract document, at its heart it is a simple promise to every child. It says that every child is entitled to the best possible start in life, to an education, to a safe place to live and grow up, to enough food, to quality health care and to protection from harm. What every child needs to survive and to thrive.
This promise - and these essential children's rights - are why we work in the UK:
- Supporting mothers and their new-borns through our Baby Friendly Initiative;
- Working with schools to teach children their rights through our Rights Respecting Schools Award;
- Establishing new partnerships with local authorities to make their communities child friendly through our Child Rights Partners programme; and
- Working with the UK Government and devolved nations to ensure children's rights are upheld and implemented in law, policy and practice
Both in the UK and around the world many children are unable to enjoy their rights. A third of UK children are living in poverty without an adequate standard of living, 30,000 are missing from school, one in five children report that they experience mental health issues, and many more are at risk of neglect and abuse.
Globally, 25 million children are out of school in conflict zones and half of the world's 21 million refugees are children.
That's why we need to talk about children's rights, why that promise to all children matters and why we're asking people to share this film.
Together we can work to make a better world for all children, here in the UK and overseas.
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