The United Nations’ five-yearly report on the UK’s
children’s rights record criticises the government for its
failure to ban smacking, urges it to appoint an independent
children’s commissioner, and questions its record on
upholding the welfare of children in custody or seeking asylum.
The report also notes the “high prevalence of violence,
including sexual violence… against children within families, in
schools, in institutions, in the care system and in detention.” It
criticises the government for failing to reduce the number of child
deaths, which stand at around two a week.
Turning to the criminal justice system, the report expresses
“deep” concerns that, between April 2000 and February 2002, 296
children were injured while being detained and calls for a review
of the use of restraint, juvenile detention and solitary
confinement in prisons. The report follows a UN hearing on the UK
children’s rights record held in Geneva during September.