Human rights education, trainings and awareness raising – Welsh Government assessment
There have been a number of positive legislative and policy changes to increase education and awareness of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), including the Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act and training for Welsh Government officials on children’s rights. However, the new curriculum has not yet been implemented so it is too early to fully assess the impact of curriculum changes. While there has been particular progress in relation to children’s rights, a lack of understanding of human rights persists and there has been no progress in raising broader awareness of human rights.
- A 2018 report by the Children’s Commissioner for Wales found that the current school curriculum includes some elements that reflect human rights principles and values, though supporting pupils to learn about their rights is not mandatory.
- The new curriculum for Wales, which is due to be implemented in 2022, will include six areas of learning and experience; human rights education and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) will be integrated across these areas of learning and experience. Guidance for designing the curriculum states that pupils need to know about their rights, and be given opportunities to develop the characteristics, attitudes, values and behaviours to respect the rights of others.
- Under the Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act, relationships and sexuality education will be mandatory for all school pupils in Wales and will include information to ensure that children and young people understand and experience their rights, including the right to non-discrimination, the right to information on health and the right to protection from sexual abuse and exploitation.
- In 2021, the Welsh Government reported on its compliance in implementing the duty to have due regard to Convention on the Rights of the Child. The report highlighted positive action taken to raise awareness of children’s rights between 2018 and 2020, including an awareness-raising campaign that coincided with the 30th anniversary of the UNCRC, and the provision of child rights training for Welsh Government officials in various forms.
- The 2017–18 National Survey for Wales showed that only 34% of adults had heard of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The figure was similar for adults with children in the household and those without.
- The Welsh Government has produced a range of guidance, including media campaigns and funding for specialist organisations, to raise awareness of issues such as hate crime, violence against women and girls and slavery.
- Despite recommendations from UN treaty bodies that public officials should be specifically trained on equality and human rights issues, there have been no significant efforts by the Welsh Government to develop, encourage or deliver targeted training, except for in relation to child rights.
- Research shows that a high percentage of the public are sceptical towards, or lack knowledge about, human rights. Survey results from 2018 show that 43% of respondents in Britain know very little or nothing at all about human rights, and that 30% of respondents say that laws protecting human rights make no difference to their lives.
Read more about the UK and Welsh Governments’ actions on human rights education, trainings and awareness raising.