Glasshouses Primary School is one of the Upper Nidderdale Federated Schools in North Yorkshire that is working towards being a recognised School of Sanctuary. As a UNICEF Gold Rights Respecting School, they have taken a rights-based lens to learning about forced displacement and supporting people seeking safety.
In the summer term, having learnt about current laws and practices that keep refugee children separated from their parents and family members, pupils recognised that this contravenes children’s right to reunification with their family. Knowing that being a rights-respecting school is not just about understanding children’s rights but also protecting them, children wrote letters to their local MP sharing what they had learnt and calling for change.
Josephine pointed out ‘Article 10 and 12 (of the rights of the child) states that governments should let familys move between countries so parents and children can stay in contact, and the governments should try to help find the family of a refugee child’.
Leo said ‘we are protesting for rights as we are a rights respecting school and they are a must have for all children and refugees… I think the laws on refugees are wrong meaning you can’t just keep refugees away from family’.
Using a rights-based lens is a fantastic way of approaching sanctuary issues, especially if you are already a rights-respecting school and this is language your pupils are familiar with. Have a look at the UNICEF ‘Forced to Flee’ activity pack for ideas, plans and resources to learn about refugee rights and have a look at the Youth Advocacy Toolkit to help enable young people to advocate for and stand up for their rights and those of others.
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