Having co-founded the kick-ass children’s rights group ARCH in 2001, I’ve become used to banging on about how the UNCRC resembles a box of Quality Street, where the hardest nuts and caramels are downgraded in favour of the palate-pleasing soft truffles and strawberry cremes.
Article 16 (right to privacy) is one such hard nut that is always left languishing at the bottom of the tin because none of the highly-paid cheerleaders, including the children’s commissioner who has a particular fondness for all things sweet and gooey, wants to risk breaking their molars on it.
Those of us who reject this pick-and-mix approach to the UNCRC, the conflation of rights with state dictated wellbeing outcomes, and the hierarchy of rights and rights-holders that has been permitted to emerge, are invariably the only ones who have been prepared to wield the toffee hammer and crack the toughest nuts.
As a quick aside, here are three of the four ARCH founders (the other one was a bashful barrister) cutting our teeth on the UNCRC in an Education Now special edition back in 2001 (sorry about the poor scan quality and the remnants of the squashed fly, but the original copy has been at the back of my filing cabinet for 18 years, like a long forgotten sweetie).
But back to the point of this post, namely:
Despite being well-known members of the nut-cracking awkward squad, representatives from the Scottish Home Ed Forum were invited to meet with the government team undertaking the consultation. I admit to having had low expectations, but it would have been churlish to turn down the opportunity to discuss such ambitious proposals for the new tartan-liveried UNCRC sweetie tin, so two of us went along to make a robust case for protecting the ‘seldom sampled’ (think Article 16) from being buried by the soft-centres at very bottom of their ‘Equality Street’ selection box.
Although the meeting was both cordial and constructive, our line in the sand has remained unmoved since 1999. If only some children’s rights and right-holders are deemed worthy of defending, as is currently the case in Scotland, incorporation will be just another exercise in job creation for already-overpaid vested interests.