In 1989, the United Kingdom signed the United Nations Covenant on the Rights of the Child. This came into force on 2nd September 1990 and binds the United Kingdom in international law. The Convention has not been incorporated by statute into English law. However, it could be referred to
in court as an aid to interpretation of legislation on the basis that, unless clear words are used, it is presumed that Parliament does not intend to legislate contrary to its international law obligations. The Welsh Assembly has taken matters further with the enactment of the Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure 2011.
In the 2002 to 2003 Parliamentary Session, the Joint Human Rights Committee considered the UN Convention (report) and said:
"We do not accept that the goal of incorporation of the Convention into UK law is unrealisable. We believe the Government should be careful not to dismiss all the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child as purely “aspirational” and, despite the ways we have listed above in which the CRC is currently able to exert influence, we firmly believe that children will be better protected by incorporation of at least some of the rights, principles and provisions of the Convention into UK law."
Since then, there have been repeated calls for incorporation of the Convention - see, for example, The Guardian 19th November 2010 - "Why it's time to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into UK law." In 2011, the Scottish Human Rights Commission rejected calls for a UK Bill of Rights and stated:
For more information about the UN Convention see UNICEF
The Measure is explained at Children in Wales (Plant yng Nghymru) and also see Welsh Assembly.
In 2010, the Welsh Assembly enacted the Children and Families (Wales) Measure 2010 which seeks to eradicate child poverty etc.