The Scottish Government introduces the UNCRC (Incorporation)(Scotland) Bill

2
Sep
2020

“As the Scottish Government today introduces the UNCRC (Incorporation)(Scotland) Bill to the Scottish Parliament, we must recognise the incredible efforts over the last 10 years and more from those who have worked so hard to get us to this point. Countless campaigners, children’s organisations and charities, children’s advocates, and, most importantly, Scotland’s children and young people themselves.”

SallyAnn Kelly

As the Scottish Government today introduces the UNCRC (Incorporation)(Scotland) Bill to the Scottish Parliament, we must recognise the incredible efforts over the last 10 years and more from those who have worked so hard to get us to this point. Countless campaigners, children’s organisations and charities, children’s advocates, and, most importantly, Scotland’s children and young people themselves.

This Bill signifies a truly momentous moment on the journey to recognise and realise children and young people’s rights in Scotland. All those who have supported, advocated and campaigned for this should be proud of the contribution they have made in progressing children and young people’s rights, and, as a consequence, helping to make Scotland a better place to grow up. I am pleased that Aberlour has been able to play its own part in helping us to get here.

Legislating to incorporate the UNCRC and to legally recognise children and young people’s rights, and to hold to account those with a duty to make sure those rights are realised, is significant and important. However, it will be how those legal duties regarding children and young people’s rights are reflected in policy and practice, and the actions which follow, that will demonstrate that we have made a real difference to the lives of Scotland’s children and young people.

Yesterday, the Scottish Government introduced their Programme for Government, outlining what they aim to do between now and the end of this Parliament. At the same time as this commitment on incorporating UNCRC was announced, and despite repeated calls from child poverty campaigners and children’s organisations, including Aberlour, there was no commitment to act now to address rising child poverty resulting, in part, from the Covid19 pandemic. The UNCRC Articles 26 and 27 explicitly outline obligations on governments to act in response to child poverty.

A commitment to realising children and young people’s rights will only mean anything if it is followed up by firm action to achieve and realise that commitment. The commitments to addressing child poverty in Scotland remain inadequate and are taking too long. The Scottish Government should, as part of the commitment to the full incorporation of the UNCRC, urgently review its approach to child poverty by recognising that adequate income is a critical component of supporting families in Scotland.

Today is undoubtedly a day to celebrate and recognise the importance of what has been achieved by the introduction of this Bill, and the efforts of those who got us here. I hope that when we see this Bill become law it will mean the rights of all of Scotland’s children and young people are recognised and respected in all circumstances, including those who experience greater adversity as a result of living in poverty.

Securing, protecting and fulfilling children and young people’s rights will make Scotland a better country and all of us better citizens.

SallyAnn Kelly, Chief Executive