On Tuesday 12th January 2016 Jane Williams, Associate Professor at the College of Law and Criminology, Swansea University delivered her well received talk on the ‘Telling, un-telling and re-telling the story of children’s rights in Wales’
In the talk Jane noted thart Children’s rights have been described as emblematic of devolved government in Wales. In the first decade of Welsh devolution, a succession of Welsh policies gave a prominence to international children’s rights standards, which was not replicated elsewhere in the United Kingdom.
The unique duty on Welsh Ministers to have due regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, enacted in the Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure 2011, attracted international attention as an innovation in human rights implementation at the devolved level. But what impact has this law had? In this talk, Jane Williams, whose book The UNCRC in Wales (UWP, 2013) told the story of the background, enactment and potential of the 2011 Measure, argued that subsequent Welsh legislation reveals at best ambivalence about children’s rights: even an un-telling of the story. Yet at the same time, evidence is emerging of greater confidence in children’s rights as a tool for effective as well as ‘right’ governance at local levels.
Jane reflected on the potential of a Welsh municipal law on children’s rights and whether this local re-telling of the story may in practice have the best chance of producing real effects on the lives and life chances of people in Wales.