South West Wales

Michael Sheen launches children's scheme at Swansea school

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Media captionMichael Sheen described 2014 as a remarkable year for child rights in Wales

Actor Michael Sheen has hailed an initiative to protect the rights of young people as a "trailblazer for children".

The Unicef ambassador was at Swansea's Pentrehafod Comprehensive School to launch Swansea council's Children and Young People's Rights Scheme.

The authority said it will put young people at the centre of all their decision-making.

Mr Sheen said 2014 as a "remarkable year for child rights in Wales".

The scheme is part of the authority's commitment as a signatory of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Mr Sheen, who starred as Tony Blair in The Queen, David Frost in Frost/Nixon and Aro in Twilight began supporting Unicef UK in 2010 when he took part in that year's Soccer Aid.

Basic rights

He said: "2014 has been a remarkable year for child rights in Wales, firstly with the Future Generations Bill and now with Swansea Council officially adopting the UNCRC.

"Our country continues to be a trailblazer for children."

Children and Young People's Rights Scheme

  • The council will be judged on how its decisions affect children's rights
  • For example, Article 31, a child's right to play, could impact on decisions around the availability of play facilities
  • The council will be independently monitored by the Children's Commissioner, Unicef and the Children's Observatory at Swansea University

Launched 25 years ago on 20 November, 1989, the UNCRC sets out basic rights for children.

They include the need for a safe, happy and fulfilled childhood regardless of sex, religion, social origin and where, and to whom, a child is born

Swansea council believes it became the first UK local authority to make this commitment when it signed up to the convention last year.

It said the scheme will bring children's rights into decisions made in areas previously treated as separate, such as housing, leisure and transport.

Image caption Michael Sheen said Wales continues to be a "trailblazer for children"

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