The Scottish Youth Parliament is calling for the country’s Government to bring an international convention on children’s rights into Scottish law.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which the UK ratified in 1992, protects children’s civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. These include the right to play, to be safe from violence, and to access education.
Currently, the Government is supposed to take those rights into account when creating new laws and policies, but they aren’t legally binding. This means there’s no easy way of challenging breaches of those rights.
‘At the Forefront of Young People’s Minds’
Image Credit: Scottish Youth Parliament
“After consulting with more than 5,000 young people from across Scotland, it was clear that the issue of rights is one which is at the forefront of young people’s minds,” explained Amy Lee Fraioli, the Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament.
“This is particularly the case in the wake of Brexit, which has left many young people feeling uncertain about the future,” she added.
This is particularly the case in the wake of Brexit
“As the democratically elected voice of 12-25-year-olds in Scotland, it is vital that we stand up and fight to defend these rights.”
Their new campaign, Right Here, Right Now, will focus on both bringing the UNCRC into law and ensuring that young people in Scotland are aware of their rights.
Formally incorporating the UNCRC would mean people could rely on the rights in court. It would also ensure that the Government took the rights into account in policy making, so preventing rights abuses in the long run.
‘Touches on Almost Every Issue That Affects Young People’
Trustee and Right Here, Right Now lead, Thomas McEachan MSYP, said: “Right Here, Right Now is a campaign which will touch upon almost every issue that affects young people in Scotland today.
“If our rights were to become fully enshrined in Scots law, we could strengthen the protection of our right to quality education, our right to healthcare, our right to a safe home, and more.”