Children and Young People could be the only group in society excluded from anti-discrimination law currently being considered.
However, a campaign is under way to stop this happening in Derry.
Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People Youth Panel Member Nikita Harkin from Derry is asking everyone in her area to help her stop discrimination against children and young people on the basis of their age.
Young people face this type of discrimination on a daily basis; this may include being asked to leave school bags at a shop door because shop owners wrongly assume that all young people steal, paying higher car insurance or not having access to health services.
Nikita Harkin from Derry said: “If this legislation goes through without us we will be the only group in society which is not protected by this law.
“Our rights are no less important than the rights of those people who are older than us. We deserve protection from this law and we must not be excluded from it,
“Whether you are an adult or a young person, please sign our petition to tell government that under 18s must not be discriminated against and should be included in this legislation”
Patricia Lewsley-Mooney, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People said:
“I am concerned that children and young people may be excluded from protection against age discrimination.
“We have been working with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland on this campaign for some time now but most importantly the voice of children and young people must be heard.”
The Commissioner continued: “Under current laws, young people can’t be discriminated against because of their religion, race or sex but if this legislation does not include them they could be discriminated against because of their age.
“It isn’t right that anyone receives a poor service or is denied access to health and social care services, education, or shops just because of their age.”
Go to www.niccy.org for more information about the campaign and to sign the petition and tell government that under 18s should be protected by this law.