Scotland set to incorporate UN children’s rights convention

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NSPCC Scotland called the announcement a “monumental day for Scotland”

2nd September 2020 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Scotland is set to become the first UK nation to directly incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into law.

Described as a “monumental day for Scotland” by one charity, the move will make it unlawful for public authorities to act incompatibly with the incorporated UNCRC requirements, giving children, young people and their representatives the power to go to court to enforce their rights.

The UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill will also require ministers and certain public authorities to report on how they are meeting children’s rights requirements as well as empowering the children’s commissioner to take legal action against anyone who impinges on these rights.

Deputy first minister John Swinney introduced the bill on Wednesday, saying it would “revolutionise the way we listen to children and take their rights into account”.

He added: “It will mean children and young people are involved in the decisions that affect their lives and that children’s rights are always respected, protected and fulfilled by public authorities.

“This bill is a significant step towards a future based on tolerance, equality, shared values and respect for the worth and human dignity of all people.”

Joanna Barrett, NSPCC Scotland policy and public affairs manager, said: “This is a monumental day for Scotland. Incorporating the UNCRC into Scots law is a significant step to ensuring that all children, even babies, in the country have their rights recognised, respected and fulfilled.

“Among its provisions, the convention sets out children’s right to be safe and their right to access support services to help them recover from abuse or neglect.

“Our research shows that the availability of therapeutic services for children who have suffered abuse is inconsistent across the country but this new bill puts an obligation on the Scottish Government and others to ensure access to specialist and timely treatment for all children who have suffered from traumatic experiences.”