Law Society of Scotland Welcomes the Rights of Children and Young People Bill

The Law Society of Scotland today, Thursday, 8 September, welcomed the publication of the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Rights of Children and Young People Bill, which aims to enshrine in law the duty on Scottish Ministers to recognise the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) when exercising its responsibilities.

The First Minister, Alex Salmond, announced the consultation on the proposed Rights of Children and Young People Bill, during the legislative statement yesterday. 

Morag Driscoll, convener of the Society’s Family Law Committee and director of the Scottish Child Law Centre said: “We welcome the publication of this consultation paper on the bill, which seeks to enshrine in law the importance of ensuring that the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of a child up to the age of 18 are given due prominence.”

The aim of the bill is to ensure all policies and legislation of the Scottish Government take account of and promote the rights of children and young people, resulting in greater consistency and clarity and setting an example for the wider public to follow. 

Driscoll said: “The UNCRC is an important convention which recognises the rights of children globally. It recognises that children and young people under the age of 18 often require additional protection and care which adults do not.”

As well as applying to all children and young people under the age of 18, the Scottish Government proposes that the bill will also extend to young people under 21 who have been looked after by a local authority.  Other proposals include a duty on the Scottish Government to report on implementation every five years.

Driscoll, added: “The Family Law Committee looks forward to considering the consultation paper in detail.”

The UNCRC, an international human rights treaty, sets out the range of rights that children are entitled to. The UK signed the Convention on 19 April 1990 and it came into force in 1992.

ENDS                                                                          8 September 2011

Notes to Editors

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is an international human rights treaty that grants all children and young people (aged 17 and under) a comprehensive set of rights. The UK signed the Convention on 19 April 1990, ratified it on 16 December 1991 and it came into force on 15 January 1992.

The UNCRC is presently the most widely ratified international human rights treaty. It is the only international human rights treaty to include civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. It sets out in detail what every child needs to have a safe, happy and fulfilled childhood regardless of their sex, religion, social origin, and where and to whom they were born.

The Convention gives children and young people over 40 substantive rights, including the right to:

• special protection measures and assistance
• access to services such as education and healthcare
• develop their personalities, abilities and talents to the fullest potential
• grow up in an environment of happiness, love and understanding
• be informed about and participate in achieving their rights in an accessible and active manner.

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