Saturday, 30 January 2016

The Rights of the Child

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is a legally-binding international agreement setting out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of every child, regardless of their race, religion or abilities.

All signatories are bound to the UNCRC by international law, and its implementation is monitored by the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Under the terms of the convention, states are required to meet the basic needs of children and help them reach their full potential. Central to this is the acknowledgment that every child has basic fundamental rights.

These include:

The right to life

The right to his or her own name and identity

The right to be protected from abuse or exploitation

The right to an education

The right to having their privacy protected

The right to be raised by, or have a relationship with, their parents

The right to express their opinions and have these listened to and 
where appropriate, acted upon

The right to play and enjoy culture and art in safety

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Calais - The 'Jungle'

What a mess! So many living in dire conditions. Such a mixture of nationalities, cultures, languages, men, women (some pregnant), children with parents or relatives and some who are alone. Like all communities there are the blaggers and the criminals but the vast majority are good and decent people who are fleeing conflict or desperate circumstances. Mud, cold, rain and fierce wind in the dunes on the outskirts of Calais, the ‘Jungle’, surrounded by what seems to be a huge contingent of some unhappy CRS police who have been landed the task of containing the situation. Also an army of volunteers supplying urgent humanitarian relief, made up of a hugely disparate group of people of all ages and backgrounds with a common cause. All, I think, with good, compassionate and giving hearts, some na├»ve, some more realistic but all just trying make a positive difference to those in need. It is with a feeling of impotence, though, that it is just a sticking plaster (an essential sticking plaster) on such an impossible situation. The reality, as I see it, is an enormous group of tired, anxious and desperate people corralled and contained in a place, albeit better than from where most have come, with no apparent solution in sight. The whole issue, as in the places where the refugees have come from, is a mess. It is hugely complicated and needs so desperately to have those who are in a position to be able to make a difference to quickly, with some understanding of the different cultures and needs, formulate a humanitarian plan that will at least care for the most vulnerable. To understand the whole situation is virtually impossible and to find a solution that will suit all is, I feel, sadly likewise.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The Jungle

We are delighted to be able to volunteer alongside care4calais this week, an English charity offering vital humanitarian aid to the many refugees who are fleeing conflict and who have now arrived in Calais. Many young people make up part of the population of the 'Jungle' in Calais where the living conditions are cold, wet and more than appalling. As we see violence continuing in the Middle East affecting some of the children with whom we already work, we felt it important to gain some first hand knowledge of the situation of the refugees who are fleeing such terrible conditions.

(No ACIC funds have been used for this exercise)