By Lucy Ashton
Responding to the Deputy First Minister’s announcement that the Scottish Government will now address the amendments needed to pass the UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill, Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, said:
“Today’s announcement by the Scottish Government has been a long time coming for children. After much delay, it gives some hope that their rights will finally be properly protected in law. That hope must now be followed up with prompt and concrete action.
“The Bill passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament in March 2021 should be in force by now; it is disappointing that the Scottish Government has taken nearly eight months to set out how the Supreme Court’s judgement will be taken into account. Every single day of delay is a day when children’s rights are not fully protected.
“All children will benefit from the protections of their rights being put into law, but it is particularly important for those children whose rights are most at risk. It is even more urgent for Scotland to secure children’s rights given the UK Government’s recently announced plan to weaken the protections in the Human Rights Act. Covid-19 and the cost-of-living crisis require a human rights-based response. This law will give children the power to enforce their rights, and we know from countries which have already incorporated children’s rights, that this has the potential to deliver transformative change.
“Incorporation means it will no longer be good enough to simply pay lip service to children’s rights; they will be fundamental when it comes to policies, legislation and budgets. And there will be much-needed accountability for public bodies who fail to respect, protect and fulfil children’s rights.”