Brexit and Children’s Rights: Implications for Wales

On 8 November, Eurochild national partner network member Children in Wales organised a Round Table Discussion on Brexit and Children’s Rights: Implications for Wales.

(From left to right): Mieke Schuurman, Eurochild; Simon Brindle, Welsh Government; Catriona Williams, Children in Wales; Ibby Osman, Young representative; Glynne Jones, Director of Wales Office

The event attracted almost 90 delegates from a range of organisations including NGOs, services providers, public sector services, academics, legal officials and a number of young people.  

Children in Wales, working in partnership with the Wales Observatory on the Human Rights of Children and Young People, presented a background paper on the potential impact of Brexit on children and young people’s rights in Wales, in particular focussing on the loss of fundamental rights, loss of funding and the lack of opportunities for children and young people to have their voices heard. 

Children in Wales through the Young Wales programme presented a film where young people shared their concerns, and which complimented the Ethnic Youth Support Team’s film ‘Brexit and Belonging’.  The young people talked about what they would loose with Brexit: free travel, possibility to study abroad, loss of funds, equal pay rights and non-discrimination: ‘We are in between, we didn’t vote for Brexit’ the young people stated.

Mieke Schuurman presented the European perspective and role of Eurochild and in particular its NPN members in advocating for children’s rights to be respected in the Brexit negotiations.  

Glynne Jones from the office of the Secretary of State for Wales guaranteed that all EU laws would be transferred into UK law and children’s rights would be guaranteed. EU funding commitments made will continue, but any funding arrangements after the UK withdraws from the EU is to be discussed.

Simon Brindle from the Welsh Government talked about the Brexit process as a ‘Herculean task’ and raised the issue of social cohesion in relation to migration issues. Both Simon Brindle and Mieke Schuurman called for the need for cooperation between the government (local as well as national and regional), NGOs and children and young people in the Brexit negotiation process.

Sean O’Neill from Children in Wales called for children and young people to have meaningful opportunities to be involved in discussions across the UK, echoing the Joint Statement released earlier this year.