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Letter to SNP Leadership Candidates and Scotland’s next First Minister

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Today, the Scottish Youth Parliament has joined with nearly 75 organisations across the country in writing to candidates standing to be the next Leader of the SNP and ultimately Scotland’s next First Minister, regarding the rights of children and young people.

You can view the full list of signatories on the Together website – which includes SYP, Together, the Children’s Parliament, Young Scot, YouthLink Scotland, Children in Scotland plus Bruce Adamson, the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, and many more.

Dear Kate Forbes MSP, Ash Regan MSP and Humza Yousaf MSP,

As Members of Children’s Parliament and Scottish Youth Parliament, we are writing to SNP leadership candidates to ask you to reassure us of your ongoing commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill and to making sure it’s brought back to the Scottish Parliament as a matter of great importance and as urgently as possible.

Earlier this month, we travelled to Geneva to give evidence to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about what matters to children and young people across Scotland. As you will see from our report, one of the top issues we raised was children and young people’s frustration that the UNCRC Incorporation Bill is still not law despite having been passed almost two years ago with the support of all the political parties in the Scottish Parliament. This long delay has come at a time when the need for rights to be protected in law has been more important than ever, with COVID-19, the cost-of-living crisis and the climate emergency

Almost every day, we hear from children and young people who are worried about their rights – from their right to education, to health, to their right to be free from discrimination and to have a say in decisions that affect them. Every day of delay is another day when children and young people don’t have these rights protected. We ask that you read our report and recommendations to understand children and young people’s specific calls in these areas.

We know that there are technical issues about the Bill that need to be fixed, but this long delay makes it feel like children’s rights are not being taken seriously. There has been very little information for us about what is happening and what the timeline for next steps is. In taking this long to protect our rights in law, many young people who campaigned for incorporation their entire childhood are now no longer children.

As we approach the two-year anniversary of the Bill passing on 16th March 2023, we are asking you to make your continued support for the Bill clear and to send a message to all children and young people in Scotland that you will give this Bill the priority it needs.

We look forward to your support in this important step towards Scotland becoming a world leader in protecting children and young people’s rights.

With thanks and best wishes

Members of the Children’s Parliament, Omima MCP and Arden MCP

Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Beau Johnston MSYP and Daisy Stewart Henderson MSYP

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