Together attends Children's Rights Forum Event on Brexit, Liverpool, 20th January 2018

Date: 31st January 2018
Category: Other human rights treaties and mechanisms

Together is continuing its work with UK partners in relation to Brexit and children's rights. On 20th January 2018, Together travelled to Liverpool for the Children's Rights Forum event on Brexit. This event gathered leading experts, politicians and members of civil society to discuss the impact that leaving the EU may have on children and young people.

The event was held to discuss the study Making Brexit work for Children - The impact of Brexit on children and young people. This study was published by the Forum in November 2017, with Together contributing the chapter on cross-border family law.

The event involved an impressive list of speakers. Professor Helen Stalford (University of Liverpool Children's Rights Unit) opened the event. She lamented the fact that although children make up around one quarter of the UK population, their rights continue to receive little attention in the Brexit process.

These thoughts were echoed by Lord Storey CBE (Lib Dem). Speaking on the progress of the Withdrawal Bill, he argued that the House of Commons had let children down in its treatment of rights issues. He felt that party politics had got in the way of good decision-making. However, he hoped that the House of Lords would be able to make positive amendments during the next stages of the Bill.

Kate Green MP (Labour) also spoke on the progress of the Withdrawal Bill. She discussed her attempts to have a child rights-based amendment made when the Bill was in the House of Commons. Whilst this amendment was not successful, she noted that further attempts would be made to reintroduce a child rights-based amendment in the House of Lords.

Other speakers looked at the broader implications of leaving the EU. Julie Ward MEP (Labour) discussed the fight to keep Erasmus+ after Brexit. She reflected on the UK Government's commitment to preserve the programme until 2020, concluding that this offer was akin to "just being left with crumbs" given that the date of exit is currently set for March 2019. Miro Griffiths MBE spoke on the impact of Brexit on equality rights and how this may impact on children and young people with disabilities. Thereafter, Charlotte Rainer (Children's Society) spoke on issues including the loss of EU funding, and the UK Government's commitment to establish a "Shared Prosperity Fund", although the details of this fund are not yet clear.

Whilst being highly informative from a technical point of view, the event was also balanced with personal accounts of Brexit's impact. The In Limbo project read testimonies from EU nationals living in the UK and their children. These moving accounts ensured that the event's audience remained focused on the human impact of Brexit.

The event was recorded and can be watched in full here.