On Thursday 7 December 2023, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill – also known as UNCRC- was passed by the Scottish Parliament.
Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP and the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice proposed the Bill reform in front of children, young people and those across Scotland who have been tirelessly campaigning for UNCRC to become a part of Scots Law for over a decade.
‘This Bill is an important milestone in ensuring that children’s rights are respected, protected and fulfilled under Scots law.’ said Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice. “Although Scotland will become the first devolved nation in the world to incorporate the convention into domestic law, we are limited in what we can achieve because of the nature of the devolution settlement. We’ve had to limit the scope of this Bill because of legal action taken by the UK Government. That is deeply disappointing. So, while this Bill is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, it remains the case that the only way to protect children’s rights in the delivery of all public services in Scotland is for the UK Government to fully implement UNCRC. Unfortunately for Scotland’s children and young people, they remain firmly opposed to such action.”
This is a historic occasion for all children and young people past, present and future who now have their rights defended by law.
Commenting on this important step in the human rights journey for children and young people, Helen Forrest, Chief Executive of Children’s Health Scotland said: “Children’s Health Scotland and our Health Rights Defenders have been working hard to make sure that My Health, My Rights isn’t forgotten during this exciting time for children’s rights. Children and young people with health conditions often get forgotten about and our Health Rights Defenders have been advocating and promoting healthcare rights for all children and young people across Scotland. With UNCRC now passed in Scottish Parliament those healthcare rights are now also defended by law.”
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