Children's Rights - Human Rights Joint Committee Contents

Memorandum submitted by Young Gypsies and Travellers


  Consideration of Reports submitted by States Parties under article 44 of the Convention.

Response to "Concluding Observations" United Kingdom of Great Britain and N Ireland by young Gypsies and Travellers, co-ordinated by UK Youth Parliament, as part of Young Researcher Network 2008. A group of nine young people, five female and four males, aged 14 to 19, being three Irish Travellers [sited in Liverpool], two Irish Travellers [sited in London], two English Gypsies [Local Authority housing in Dorset], one Roma Gypsy on private land and one English Gypsy, roadside.

Numbers relate to Unedited Version (03.10.08)


  20.  The group would like to point out that the majority of young Gypsies and Travellers are not in school beyond year 9. In fact, the majority of the group left school at the end of primary or year 7. Only two of the group were in school.

24.  Their research on the changes in the last two generations concluded that whilst general and economic conditions had improved, with less reliance on begging, many things had remained the same and that media portrayal, public image and discrimination had got worse.

  25.  The group strongly support the recommendations:

    (b) one of the recommendations of their research was that "Young Gypsies and Travellers should be used in the wider school community to explain about the differences in cultures".

    (c) the group were sceptical/cynical about the use of the second word "all".

  26/27.  As a specific ethnic group, they felt very little was done in their "Best Interests".

  33.  With one of the group being an MYP [Member of Youth Parliament] and two others being regularly involved, the group endorsed the concept of participation and especially applauded the work of UK Youth Parliament. Also, members of the group had been involved with 11Million and the NYA [National Youth Agency].

[reference magazine "Do you have anything to say? Who will listen to you?"—young Gypsies and Travellers making a difference—UK Youth Parliament—Dec 2008]

  64.  The group felt that the majority of the "travelling" community, in housing, sited, on private land, roadside and illegal fell into this category.

[Whilst generalising the travelling community, the group did not specify "New Age" Travellers, whom agencies working with them would regard as the most impoverished group in society—Mike Hurley, UKYP, Gypsy and Traveller Participation Officer]

  65.  (d)  Whilst fully agreeing with the statement, young Gypsies and Travellers are very concerned with the need for short term transit sites to preserve the culture of "travelling".

  66.  (c)  Bullying is the most often quoted reason for non attendance at school, heavily linked to media image and negative reporting, especially at times of evictions. There were many instances of disproportionate punishment when the "victims" retaliated.

[reference Blue Jones, MYP 2007, in UKYP DVD "The Roads We Roam"]

  68.  From the immediate experience of the group, most legal sites have little or no play facilities, being mostly concrete environments, whilst illegal roadside may have more space and greater play opportunities.

[reference photographs include in research presentation]

  78.  (c)  The group did not fully understand this, but did feel that a disproportionate number of young male Gypsies and Travellers were within the Criminal Justice system.

February 2009

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