Today, The Scottish Parliament will hold a debate to reconsider United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill. This is the landmark piece of legislation that will protect children and young people’s rights in Scots law.
I am still optimistic that we can make this bill have a real impact on the lives of children and young people after the changes. But to make that work, we need to recognise that part of upholding our rights includes making this proposed legislation easy for children and young people to understand. It must be made extremely clear what it will and won’t do, and how it will empower us.Olivia Brown MSYP, SYP Policy Trustee
Here’s a timeline on the story of UNCRC in Scotland and how SYP has played its part:
- 16 December 1991 – The UK ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
- 30 June 1999 – The Scottish Youth Parliament, the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people was formed
- 22 September 2005 – UNCRC was first mentioned in The Scottish Parliament in the context of children of asylum seekers and the case of the ‘Glasgow Girls’
- 19 February 2014 – The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act was passed by MSPs
- May 2016 – Ahead of the Holyrood election in 2016, we called for the UNCRC to be brought into law in Scotland in our ‘Lead The Way’ manifesto, with the support of over three quarters of young people
- 2017 – SYP launched our biggest and most significant campaign yet, ‘Right Here, Right Now’, to push for full incorporation in Scotland – the campaign has continued till this day, on a local, national and even international level
- 6th March 2018 – MSYPs and MCPs from the Children’s Parliament attend the annual Children and Young People’s Cabinet meeting, asking Ministers to protect young people’s rights in law
- 18th April 2018 – We held our ‘Young People’s Rights Review’ in Edinburgh – which was attended by over 60 decision makers – to feed into the government’s Action Plan on Children’s Rights
- 1st September 2020 – The Bill was introduced to The Scottish Parliament
- 16th March 2021 – Members of The Scottish Parliament unanimously passed the Bill to protect children’s rights in law
- June – October 2021 – Following a challenge by the UK Government, The Supreme Court in London ruled that the Bill was
- 7th December 2023 – MSPs will take part in the reconsideration debate on the UNCRC Bill and cast their votes at Decision Time
Should the UNCRC Bill pass, our Members and partners have been clear that this is not the endpoint in our campaign, but should only be seen as the start – here’s what SYP Trustee, Marcus Flucker MSYP, said:
“It’s important that we remember this is just the next step on the journey to protect children’s rights in Scotland. This vote is not the final destination but instead is a key milestone. Yes, we have waited a long time for this moment, but the real hard work for decision-makers in only starting.”
On the topic of culture change, the Member for Aberdeenshire East, Isla Grant MSYP, added:
“Creating a change of culture is key to ensuring that implementation of the UNCRC has a real, tangible effect on Scottish life. To young people, knowing that the adults tasked with looking after us really do care about our rights and wellbeing is as important as the implementation of the rights themselves.”– Isla Grant MSYP
We urge Members of the Scottish Parliament to show their support for the Bill in the debate today and vote in favour of the UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill. SYP distributed a briefing to all MSPs ahead of the debate to provide background on the issue and our role in the campaign.
The UNCRC debate gets underway at around 2:45pm this afternoon – you can watch live online on The Scottish Parliament website.