Making Rights Real for Every Child in Scotland
Scotland continues to take a significant step forward for human rights in Scotland, as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) Bill is reconsidered by the Scottish Parliament. The Bill will incorporate children’s human rights into Scots law and will make rights real for every child.
This has been a long and some might even say confusing journey, as the Bill was passed unanimously in March 2021, however, was referred to the UK Supreme Court shortly after as it was found that sections of the Bill went beyond the powers of the Scottish Parliament. After more than two years, we continue to support the vital need to ensure children’s rights are granted stronger protection. As we continue to wait for the outcome of reconsideration, it doesn’t stop the need for embedding human rights into health and social care policy and practice.
Earlier this year, the ALLIANCE in partnership with Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) held a panel discussion as part of the Being Human Series, ‘UNCRC: Beyond Incorporation’. The event provided an opportunity for participants to hear more about recent developments in children’s rights; including where we are with incorporation, to gain a greater understanding of how to implement UNCRC in practice and to hear promising practice and innovative examples of how organisations are already championing children’s rights in health and social are.
Speakers on the day included colleagues from Together, Starcatchers, Scottish Youth Parliament and the National Deaf Children’s Society. The session also included an interview with Nick Hobbs, the Head of Advice and Investigations at the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland Office. Nick highlighted how the UNCRC recognises that every child should grow up in a family environment of happiness, love and understanding. Showcasing what the convention is set out to do and how it is intended to frame children as active agents in their own life. Throughout the session, speakers provided insights into the Concluding Observations, Scotland’s ‘to do list’ to further children’s human rights across Scotland and the wider UK. We heard about the need to recognise ways in which babies’ rights must be heard, in relation to Article 12 which states that every child has the right to express their views and have them considered and taken seriously, alongside insights into the vital need to ensure deaf children have informed choice around their rights. Our panellist from the Scottish Youth Parliament also demonstrated ways in which organisations can ensure meaningful participation of children and young people in decision making.
Marianne Tyler, Senior Development Officer