Children first

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We welcome Professor Elaine Sutherland’s recent submission to the Education and Culture Committee on the Children and Young People Bill – evidence which exposes some of the misconceptions around incorporating children’s rights into Scots law.

We believe that to achieve the Scottish Government’s policy objective to “make rights real”, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) must be incorporated into Scots Law.

That’s why we have called for the rights provisions in the forthcoming bill to be strengthened.

If the Scottish Government takes the opportunity to incorporate the UNCRC into Scots Law, this would lead to:

l The development of an overarching children’s rights framework that influences all areas of policy and practice – giving more leverage to politicians, public officials and non-governmental organisations striving to advance children’s rights.

l A culture of respect for children and their rights. Incorporation would send a clear and important message about how we value and respect children.

This would have a very real impact on the everyday experiences of Scotland’s children and young people.

l Fulfilment of the strategic objectives of the Council of Europe’s programme Building a Europe for and with children – something which the bill (in its current form) does not do.

While a lot of good work has undoubtedly been done in Scotland to implement the obligations under the UN Convention, as Professor Sutherland stresses, there still remains “much room for improvement”.

The Scottish Government has a commendable vision to make Scotland the best place for children to grow up. However, without incorporation of the UNCRC, we fear this will not be achievable.

Juliet Harris

Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights)

Anne Houston

Children 1st

Alex Cole-Hamilton


Anita Tiessen

Unicef UK

Ben Thurman

Mentor UK

Duncan Dunlop

Who Cares? Scotland

Jackie Brock

Children in Scotland

Kyle Thornton

Scottish Youth Parliament

Maggie Simpson

Scottish Childminding Association

Neil Mathers

Save the Children Scotland

Paul Moore


Satwat Rehman

One Parent Families Scotland