Methodist minister joins mass lobby of Parliament for children’s rights

Tomorrow the Methodist Church will take part in a mass lobby ofParliament in an effort to secure equal rights for children.

Organised by the 'Children are Unbeatable!' alliance, thelobby aims to persuade MPs to scrap the 1860 legal defence of'reasonable chastisement' and amend The Children Bill to givechildren equal protection from assault.

The Bill, which will reform children's services and establish anindependent children's commissioner for England, has just gonethrough the committee stages of the House of Commons.

Revd Susan McIvor, who will represent The Methodist Church atthe lobby, said: "Children were central to Jesus' teachings aboutthe new social order which was so revolutionary at the time. Heregarded children as people who were to be treated with respect fortheir human dignity. "

She continued: "These same principles are endorsed in the recentreport of the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, whichalso highlights the fact that we in the UK are lagging behind othercountries in this long overdue reform for children."

 Christine Dodd, Coordinator of the Churches' Networkfor Non-violence (CNNV), added: "Churches have historicallybeen involved in social justice issues and it is to be expectedthat Christians should speak out on behalf of children. During thelobby we want to convey our belief that hitting children is wrongand that there is nothing "reasonable" about "reasonablechastisement", the archaic defence which must be changed so thatsmall human beings have the same protection from being hit asadults enjoy."

After the lobbyists have met their MPs, the occasion will bemarked with an ecumenical service dedicated to children andnon-violence.