Celebrating 25 years of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Web un general assembly hall

Today marks 25 years since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) at the General Assembly in New York

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20th November 2014 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

To celebrate 25 years of the UNCRC, a small group of members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) have been asking representatives from third sector organisations and members of the Scottish Government what it means to them.

Riordan Langan-Fortune MSYP, Terri Smith MSYP and Joshua McCormick MSYP

Riordan Langan-Fortune MSYP, Terri Smith MSYP and Joshua McCormick MSYP

Terri Smith MSYP, Joshua McCormick MSYP, and Rhiordan Langan-Fortune MSYP took part in a Twitter interview with Tam Baillie, Scotland’s commissioner for children and young people, and chatted to Alison Todd, chief executive of Children 1st, and Aileen Campbell MSP, minister for children and young people.

Afterwards, Terri Smith MSYP, vice chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, shared her own answers to some of the questions from the day.

Can you summarise what the Scottish Youth Parliament do?

The Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people. We champion the views of young people aged 14 to 25 across the length and breadth of Scotland. We campaign on a wide range of issues which are important to young people, ensuring their voices are heard at all democratic levels.

What does the 25 year anniversary of the UNCRC mean to your work?

25 years of the UNCRC is a hugely significant milestone. The rights defined by the UNCRC have given generations of young people a sense of security, and young people today now value, appreciate, and understand their rights and how they affect them. This anniversary is important to the work SYP undertakes as it showcases how much society respects our young people's contribution to the world. As the voice of Scotland's young people, this is something we've been championing for over a decade.

Celebrating 25 years of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Make sure you know your rights. Ensure others honour and respect your rights, and always fight for more. The UNCRC is hugely important.

If you had to sum up your message to other young people on this day in 140 characters, what would it be?

Make sure you know your rights. Ensure others honour and respect your rights, and always fight for more. The UNCRC is hugely important.

What do you believe are the biggest achievements for children’s rights in Scotland in the past 25 years?

I personally think the biggest achievement for children's rights in Scotland over the last 25 years is that as a nation, we aspire for Scotland to be the best place it can be for children to grow up. I believe there is a really inspirational sentiment behind the increasing enthusiasm and attitude towards advocating rights, and striving to achieve an ever improving society for children and young people to live in.

Which rights are a priority in your work at the moment?

UNCRC Article 12: “You have the right to an opinion and for it to be listened to and taken seriously.” As a young person representing other young people, for me, this is one of the most important rights we have. The days where children should be seen and not heard are diminishing from our society, and every day in my role as an MSYP, I work with young people to encourage them to take part in democracy, and I assure them that decision makers both will and want to listen to their views. Over recent months, as a nation, we allowed 16 and 17-year-olds to vote for the very first time. I believe this shows how progressive and encouraging Scotland is, especially for our young people who are our country’s future, and it has also created a platform to encourage future generations to fight for the right to have their say.