Statement and Call to Action on the Impact of Brexit on Children and Young People

The Brexit process has, thus far, ignored the voices of children and young people.

The Brexit process has, thus far, ignored the voices of children and young people.

We, the undersigned, represent over 1800 children’s rights organisations across Europe and believe the rights of children and young people must be protected and championed as part of the process.

Children and young people in the United Kingdom and across the EU will be the most impacted in the long term by the Brexit vote, yet they have had no opportunity to have their opinions heard on this issue by decision-makers.

Together the UK, EU institutions and all EU Governments have a role to play in ensuring the rights of children are prioritised at the negotiating table.

We are calling for action to be taken to bring children into the heart of negotiations on Brexit by:

  • Developing a mechanism to listen to children and young people as part of the Brexit negotiation process;
  • Providing assurances that there will be no roll back on the existing rights of children and young people in the UK and across the EU;
  • Ensuring that future positive children’s rights developments will be recognised by all parties to negotiations;
  • Continuing to recognise the importance of the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process. Its prioritisation in the current negotiating guidelines of the EU is welcome as it is essential to minimise the potential harm caused to children from Brexit, in particular in Northern Ireland.

Crucially, we are seeking a dialogue with key EU and UK negotiators, Mr Michel Barnier of the European Commission, Mr Guy Verhofstadt of the European Parliament and The Rt. hon. David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, to discuss these recommendations in order to ensure that children’s rights are safeguarded and their voices heard in the Brexit negotiations process.

To inform this process, a number of children's rights academics and civil society organisations across the UK, including the European Children's Rights Unit (Liverpool), The Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation (UCLan), CORAM (London), the Children's Legal Centre (Belfast), the Centre for Children's Rights (Belfast) and the Wales Observatory for the Human Rights of Children and Young People (Swansea) are developing a range of briefing papers and holding workshops to draw attention to the key priorities affecting children across different parts of the UK.  

This Statement was drafted by five national partner networks of Eurochild (Children in Northern Ireland, Children in Scotland, Children in Wales, Children’s Rights Alliance England and Children’s Rights Alliance, Ireland) and is supported by Eurochild and by the following national partner networks and other organisations in the membership of Eurochild below:

Supported by:

List of supporters (in alphabetical order of country): 

National Coalition for the Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Children in Austria

Child Rights Coalition, Flanders, Belgium

National Network for Children, Bulgaria

Coordination of Associations for Children, Croatia

Pancyprian Coordinating Committee for the Protection and Welfare of Children, Cyprus

Defence for Children, Czech Republic

Joint Council for Child Issues, Denmark

Estonian Union for Child Welfare, Estonia

Central Union for Child Welfare, Finland

Federation of associations for child protection, France

Child and Youth Welfare Association, Germany

Family, Child, Youth Association, Hungary

Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection, Kosovo

Dutch Coalition on Children’s Rights, Netherlands

Romanian NGO Federation for Children, Romania

Network of Organizations for Children of Serbia 

Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth, Slovenia

Spanish Children’s Rights Coalition, Spain

Children England, United Kingdom


 Read the latest update from the UK Parliament discussion on Brexit here.