Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to further protect children by making the children’s rights convention part of Scottish law.
The First Minister of Scotland made the announcement as part of her new Programme for Government, which sets out her priorities for the year ahead.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which the UK has signed up to as a whole, sets out the basic rights protections which should be available to all children.
This means a committee of independent experts will regularly examine Britain’s policies surrounding children and make recommendations. However, most of the UK has so far stopped short of making the convention part of our own legislation – it’s only been made domestic law in Wales.
The convention includes provisions such as making sure all decisions concerning a child are in their “best interests” (Article 3), and grants special protection to refugee children, or those seeking refugee status (Article 22).
‘Delighted – But More To Be Done’
Suki Wan is chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament. Image Credit: Scottish Youth Parliament
Suki Wan, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament – which has been campaigning for the formal incorporation of the convention as part of a wider push for young people’s rights – said she was “delighted” by the news.
“We’re absolutely delighted at today’s announcement from the First Minister that the Scottish Government will incorporate the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into domestic law,” she added.
In order to strengthen the protection of young people’s rights, [we need] full incorporation of the UNCRC – ensuring these rights are binding, not guiding.
Suki Wan MSYP
“One of the aims of our campaign on young people’s rights, Right Here, Right Now, is to influence law, policy and practice in order to strengthen the protection of young people’s rights by calling for full incorporation of the UNCRC – ensuring these rights are binding, not guiding.”
However, she was keen to stress that more must be done to protect children in Scotland. “We know, though, that much still needs to be done to achieve full incorporation,” she added. “And we will continue to work closely and constructively with partners, politicians and government to make that goal become a reality.”
Commitments To Children
Image Credit: Pixabay
The new Programme for Government also sets out a number of other policies to mitigate against the “impact of adverse childhood experiences on our life chances.”
Plans include supporting 750 new, extended or refurbished nurseries to double the provision of early learning and childcare, increasing recruitment of school nurses and counsellors, and offering a school clothing grant of £100, as well as free sanitary products to more women and girls.
Featured Image Credit: First Minister of Scotland / Flickr