Statement: Rule of Six and Covid-19

In a statement about the impact of the Rule of Six on children’s human rights, Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner, said:

“Children’s human rights have been severely restricted in order to protect the right to life and public health during this pandemic. This has had a disproportionate impact on some groups of children such as those living in poverty and disabled children. Despite this, children and young people have demonstrated a very high level of compliance with the rules. While many children have returned to formal schooling, there are ongoing implications in terms their wider education through clubs and community-based learning and their rights to socialise and play which are so important to their development.

Any restriction on children’s human rights must be carefully justified in terms of necessity and proportionality. Balancing the need to protect the public health risk of spreading the virus with the impacts of the restrictions on the physical, mental and emotional health and development of children involves difficult decisions. I was pleased the First Minister committed yesterday to exploring more flexibility in the regulations for children. A Children’s Rights Impact Assessment is essential in demonstrating the legitimacy of decision-making and should be a part of any significant policy changes, along with clear and direct communication to children and families so the legitimate reasons for the restrictions are widely understood.”

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