Youth rights and Citizenship Essay

Within this assignment I will define citizenship and explain who has the right to citizenship and what those rights include. I will then go on to discuss the rights in which young people have looking at the children’s act 2004 and the introduction of every child matters. I will go through an issue that I have read about at look at social policy and the UN Conventions on the rights of the child. To end I will conclude.

Many people are unclear about the meaning of citizenship and often people who are in fact citizens are not aware of this. One terminology of the term has been defined as it provides a frame work for understanding ourselves and our relationship to the institutions of society in terms of civil, political and social rights.” (fred twine, p172) another is that the ‘status which suggests a basic social and political attachment to a country and which implies political rights and duties as well as certain privileges.

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The citizenship of a person is usually that stated on his or her passport’. ( now citizenship can in fact be changed what I mean by this is that the citizenship in which you were born with is not necessarily that of which you will die with, if you are born within the united kingdom and move to the united states you are know to have renounce your citizenship this is done by taking up a green card, as a man you can be then drafted into the army. Citizens are expected to take part in our society and participate in election, jury service and follow the law which have been put into place.

In order to be a citizen you must be a member of a state are able to access certain facilities such as the nhs, income support for the non working, right to a free trail, free education. But a lot of things that are available are not accessible by every one as some have conditions attached to them. For example free prescriptions is only available to those on benefits and benefits are only available to those not working or on low income however being on benefits does in deed come with some stigma attached to it as often people on benefits are from poor boughs which are seen to have less priory on such waiting list as heart transplants, this could be due to many factors one of which being that your quality of life is not as great as those in affluent areas or and the notion that you have not paid taxes therefore are not putting anything in to the service suggesting that being a citizen is a give and then receive approach. On this base you could say that the poor is some what are excluded from aspects of citizenship. It has been said that “we create society at the same time as we are created by it” (fred twine, 1994, p17)

According to the “2003 home office citizen survey published in 2004 which states that “the rights that the largest proportion of people thought they had were: access to free education for children 88%, freedom of thought, conscience and religion 86%, free health care if they need it 86%, free elections 85% and freedom of speech 84%. A smaller number of people thought they had the right to be looked after by the state if they could not look after themselves 71% and a job 58%.

According to the home office ‘the highest rates of civic participation were found in areas classified as: “affluent greys, rural communities.” With this area it was 51% of residents as with only 28% with those from multi ethnic low-income areas and older people less prosperous areas who participated in civil activities in the previous 12 months.’ It was unclear as to why low income families were not active in civil activities but it could bring us back to the point that some people are simply not aware of the term citizenship.

Many people are unclear about the term youth I define it as the stage which is before adulthood but is in deed after childhood, it could be seen as the middle stage between the to. Youth is not established until the teens unlike medieval times were at the age of seven it was seen to be the end of your childhood. This changed as time progressed and as the demand for young labours diminished and education and training was readily available to the poor along with council housing. In those times right of children were not only little to none but that of women to, yes in deed we have come a long way with this and both now have rights within today’s society but are children’s rights really their rights as I am about to discuss these rights can often be removed.

Children and young people are often not in a position to fight for their rights so it is often left for adults to do this for them. Some people feel young people do in deed not have enough rights and what little rights they do have can be waved or are exercisable by adults on their behalf. Young people are unable to vote, have very little say in their care and up bringing.

The Children’s act’s have been put in place to ensure that children are safe and have certain rights for example the children’s act 1989 saw changes in the rights of children for example children who had understanding were in fact able to refuse a medical examination even when a court order had been put in place and gave them rights in which to obtain a solicitor without that of adult permission, this is with the understanding that they have satisfied the solicitor that they have significant understanding. Many rights in which adults receive are not accessible by young people for example they are unable to obtain benefits for their child if they become pregnant under the age of 16 and within some areas there is a curfew restricted them from night life.

The UNCRC is the United Nations convention on the rights of the child and is simply designed to not only protect children but to also to give them rights. The three principles in which underpin the uncrc are “all the rights in the convention must be available to all children without discrimination of any kind, the child’s best interest must be a primary consideration in all actions concerning them and the child’s views must be considered and obtained into account in all matters affecting them” (p52, Jeremy roche and Stanley tucker, 1997) even thought this is designed to give children rights statements such as ‘the child’s view must be considered’ are telling us that what they want dose not just happen but it has a part to play in the final decision made.

Following the Victoria climbi case the government published the every child matters green paper in September 2003 in which is set about changing policies and legislation within our country in order to reduces at all cost the risk of both children and young people and give as many opportunities as possible, its main focus area was children’s and young peoples needs alone with their family.

A recent issue that I have read about is entitled ‘Youth justice: Breach rate rises for young people on ASBOs’ and talks about the vast number of young people breaching antisocial behavior orders otherwise know as asbos, it states that the figure has risen by 10 percent ‘Home Office figures released last week show that the breach rate for under-18s rose from 47 per cent at the end of 2003, to 57 per cent at the end of 2005.’ Asbos are given to children who are thought of by their neighbors as a nuisance and disrupted the neighborhood the article state that for these people ‘Acceptable behavior contracts were the most commonly used intervention’ Asbo may be broken by the youth because they feel that their rights have been taken away and in many cases this is true as it curtails their ability to be able to wander freely and criminalise behaviour that is otherwise lawful.

Article 10 of the UN Convention states that children have the right to see both parents on a regular basis but this right could in deed not be obtainable with an asbo as it may prohibit them from certain areas. Another article, article 12 in fact states that children have the right in which to express their views, an asbo again can infringe on this right as they can stop young people from fully express themselves as they might have been seen as a noisy neighbour.

To conclude citizenship can be changed and certain rights come along with citizenship but both adult and young people do not have the same rights and in fact children’s right can in deed be waved if it significant reason is given even with such policies that the UN convention has set out there are get out clauses attached to it in order for rights to be revoked.


J. Roche and S. Tucker (1997), youth in society, open university

F. Twine (1994), Citizenship & Social Rights, sage publications

Home office Citizenship survey (2004), people, families and communities


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