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The Right To Complain: Petition Hand in

A Party as Empty as our Rights

Blog by Holly Shorey, Vice-Chair of the Amnesty UK Children's Human Rights Network


On Friday 6th September, we handed in our “Make Rights Real” petition to the UK Government, Department for Education. Well over 7000 of you took action to tell the UK Gov that they must ratify Optional Protocol 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).


With the 30th anniversary of the UNCRC nearing, it is more important than ever that children have the ability to complain to the Committee on the Rights of the Child when their rights are violated. OP3 is essential to holding the UK to account for child rights violations from the rise in knife crime, to the climate crisis, to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities funding cuts. The UNCRC is not just a manifesto of children’s rights, those rights must be made real for all children.


We couldn’t hand in the “Make Rights Real” petition without sending the Government that message loud and clear. We threw an ‘empty birthday party’ for 30 years of empty promises. 30 years of children being denied the ability to complain. 30 years of being the only international human rights treaty without an inbuilt complaints mechanism. 30 years of children’s rights not being made real. 


This birthday party had no cake, no balloons, and no hint of celebration. Although, we do look forward to belatedly celebrating the 30th birthday of the UNCRC when the Government makes it real for all children in the UK.


We handed out hundreds of leaflets to the public around Parliament Square, spreading awareness of this issue, and crucially not inviting them to our ‘party’.


Next week, we will be at the 82nd session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, speaking directly to decision makers about how crucial it is for the UK to ratify OP3. So watch this space; we will make rights real.

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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