This section includes a discussion of whether more research should be conducted in this area, and why, and also discusses which other areas are important and relevant with regards to this statement.
In many developed, industrialised, countries, including the UK, discrimination against children from different racial backgrounds is a topic that is widely discussed in government and, more generally, in the wider media. In the UK, in particular, this topic has been a part of public consciousness since the cold-blooded murder of Stephen Lawrence, in the streets of London, and the subsequent independent investigation, which suggested that, at some level, institutional racism was directly responsible for failing to lead to any conviction for his murder (Mcpherson, 1999).
As Webb (2004) states, in the last few decades in Britain, successive acts of parliament have attempted to tackle discrimination and to promote equal opportunities for members of ethnic minority communities, however, despite these efforts, children continue to be omitted from the general equality debate, even though it is widely recognised that children experience significant discrimination from both individuals and at an institutional level, which affects their health and the quality of the health and education services received by these children.
In the last half of the twentieth century, a global recognition of children's rights developed, culminating in the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, sealed in 1989, and the establishment of Children's Rights Commissioners in many Western countries - in fact, of all the modern, industrialised countries, only the US did not sign this treaty (Webb, 2004).
Although the UK signed this treaty, it has - at a governmental level - been slow to respond to the developments of this treaty and to necessary implementations of the implications of the Treaty, and has not adequately addressed the undoubted disadvantages that children experience as a result of what is, in effect, a society that inherently discriminates against them (Webb, 2004). At local and regional levels, in the UK, however, the Convention is used to inform the way in which strategies and services are informed and organised, although, even when there is a genuine commitment to applying the terms of the Convention, there can still be a poor understanding of how discrimination against children manifests itself, such that the terms of reference of the Treaty are not applied at all, or are applied incorrectly or inappropriately (Webb, 2004).
At this point, it will be useful to provide a discussion of the term 'discrimination'. Discrimination can take many forms, either direct or indirect: indirect discrimination is defined as the inequitable treatment of one group disadvantaging another, as opposed to direct discrimination in which the focus of the discriminatory attitudes and actions is the group itself (Webb, 2004). Discrimination can also be manifested either at an individual level, or at an institutional level; at an institutional level, discrimination can occur when the structures or policies of organisations result in