The Healthcare Rights Award recognises a person or team who has taken significant steps to advance the health rights of children and young people in relation to the UNCRC, in school, at hospital or in the community. Our winner is Juliet Harris.
Juliet is Director of Together, a charity devoted to ensuring that every child and young person in Scotland experiences all their human rights, all of the time. Together has a membership comprising over 550 charities, academics, and professionals all working in collaboration. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is an international agreement outlining the rights of every child across the world. This includes human rights, such as the right to good health, the right to be heard, freedom from discrimination, and protection from poverty.
“Everything we do is centred around the UNCRC. In partnership with our membership, the Together team pushes for and influences new laws, checks that children’s rights are being realised in their daily lives and raises awareness and understanding of children’s human rights,” says Juliet. “Children and young people are at the heart of everything we do, informing and influencing our work through our membership and through our team of young Human Rights Detectives.”
Juliet says one of the significant achievements of Together is its role in ensuring that children’s rights will be legally protected through the UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill. “This bill is poised to protect every child’s UNCRC rights, including healthcare rights. It will give children and their families the ability to complain to the courts in the most serious of cases if their rights are not respected.”
Together has also led efforts to involve children and young people in a United Nations review of children’s rights in the UK, which involved presenting evidence to a UN Committee on a range of issues, including healthcare rights. “Our collaboration with children and young people – working as #TeamScotlandUN – led to a record level of children’s involvement in the UN process, resulting in over 200 recommendations to the UK and Scotland for improving children’s experiences of their rights.”
Juliet is aiming to ensure the Scottish Government treats these recommendations as their ‘To Do List’ for children’s rights in Scotland, and to work with children and young people and the Together membership to take them forward.
Caitlin Forrest, Member, Events and Communications Officer at Together nominated Juliet and explains why. “Juliet is an extremely passionate and dedicated person who goes the extra mile to make children and young people’s rights a reality in Scotland. She has dedicated her life and work to improve the lives of children and young people across Scotland. I could not think of anyone more deserving; she’s always thinking of and valuing the views of children and young people.”
Juliet didn’t know she’d been nominated, but on learning she was a winner, she was keen to recognise her colleagues. “Winning the Healthcare Rights Award means a great deal to me and the Together team. It feels like a strong acknowledgment of our efforts to champion the human rights of children and young people, particularly their right to health.
“The award underscores the crucial nature of these rights and serves as a reminder that every child has the right to health and a nurturing environment that supports their wellbeing. This recognition makes us reflect on the collective journey we’ve taken, with the involvement of our membership and the invaluable input of children and young people at its core. Personally, I feel honoured to have our work acknowledged and am grateful for the supportive and creative team that I’m surrounded by at Together.”
On choosing their winner the judges said:
Our winner is an outstanding rights defender and a strong advocate for the rights of children and young people. We are so impressed with her many years of dedication and commitment to defending rights, and without doubt she is one of the strong leaders forging the way in the promotion of the UNCRC in relation to children and young people in our sector.
Congratulations on winning the Healthcare Rights Award Juliet.