Opinions

Children and young people’s views on the ‘Right to Health’ after Brexit

Written by: David Mackay, Policy & Projects Manager, Children in Scotland

Published: 18/08/2020

Graphic of twelve people standing in a line holding hands, in multiple colours

Panel encourages debate and discussion for young people to be more informed today, and in the future about their rights.

The Children and Young People’s Panel on Europe is a group of 19 children and young people aged 9-19 from across Scotland. Since 2018, the Panel has been working to ensure the voices of children and young people are heard and acted upon as the UK exits the European Union. Young people under 18 didn’t get the chance to vote in the 2016 EU referendum, but the decisions made during the Brexit process will significantly affect their future and the opportunities available to them.

Over the past six months there has understandably been a huge focus on coronavirus. However the Brexit process has continued to progress with no change to the timescale set out before the pandemic. The transition period – the time during which the current rules on trade, travel and business will apply to the UK – is still due to end on 31 December.

The right for all children and young people to be listened to and have their views taken seriously is enshrined in Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. As Oscar, one of the Panel members has said “One of our rights is to be heard and respected and we want to exercise that”.

The Panel provides a platform for children and young people to learn about Brexit, share their views and engage with key decision-makers. It wants the interests of young people brought to the fore during Brexit negotiations and has identified four key areas of focus:

  • EU Funding
  • Opportunities to Work, Study and Travel
  • The Economy, Trade and Jobs
  • Rights

In 2019, the Panel published their ‘Listen to Us’ (this link will take you away from our website) report, providing a range of recommendations to the Scottish and UK governments. Over the past eight months, the group has been developing their work around these themes, reaching out to organisations affected by Brexit, and engaging with decision-makers.

The Panel also wants to raise the profile of their work and support other children and young people to have their say. In mid-August, the Panel began a two-week #YoungBrexitVoices Twitter campaign focusing on key areas of interest. Today, their focus is the right to health and they’ll be sharing hopes for the future and reflecting on the uncertainty of the current situation. The Panel’s key asks in the area include:

  • Politicians from the different parties should all work together to protect the right to health as a shared goal
  • People should have access to the medicines they need, including medicines that are made in the EU and medicines should remain free
  • Lots of health workers come from the EU. It is important that they feel welcome in the UK and valued
  • People with mental health issues should get the support they need
  • Children and young people should have access to information about their health, especially right now so we aren’t so worried.

We hope that ALLIANCE members will support the #YoungBrexitVoices campaign and encourage other children and young people aged 8-22 to complete the Panel’s survey and share their views.

The Children and Young People’s Panel on Europe is a politically neutral group supported by the national charities Children in Scotland (this link will take you away from our website) and Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) (this link will take you away from our website)

Find out more about the Panel and their campaign (this link will take you away from our website)

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