16th March, 2021 9:38 am
THE Scottish Parliament will today vote to pass the human rights of kids into law.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which was adopted in 1989, sets out the civil liberties of everyone under 18 and requires the government to ensure children and their families get the support they need.
Children’s rights campaigners have been fighting for decades to make it part of Scots Law.
Today BRUCE ADAMSON, the Children’s and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, explains why this new legislation is so important for youngsters and their families.
SCOTLAND is leading the way in the UK when it comes to children’s human rights.
This week the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) will be incorporated into Scots law.
It’s the most important thing we can do to protect and uphold the rights of children and young people.
Campaigners, including my office and children themselves, have long been pushing for incorporation.
This law will improve life for children here and those whose rights are most at risk will feel the biggest impact.
But it’s not just children who will benefit — parents, families, and communities, will all get more support.
The starting point of the UNCRC is that children should grow up in a family environment of happiness, love, and understanding.
It spells out their rights and the things we know are essential to a good childhood, including the right to an education, the right to the best possible health, to nutritious food, to a safe, warm house, to social security, and the right to protection from abuse and neglect.
This new law won’t impact on parents in a negative way — quite the opposite.
It forces government to better support families, recognising that’s the best way to ensure children thrive.
It gives children and families the knowledge and tools to fight for their rights when the government fails them.
Incorporation of the UNCRC is going to especially benefit children in the most vulnerable situations.
Children living in poverty, disabled children, young carers, those who have experience of the care system, children from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, and others whose rights get ignored.
These rights will be enshrined in law and will be fundamental to every new policy, law and budget. If the state fails to uphold children’s rights, it can be taken to court. Poverty is our biggest human rights crisis, but incorporation of the UNCRC is a powerful weapon. One in four children lives in poverty, a statistic made even worse by coronavirus.
Big-hearted Scottish Sun readers dug deep when the paper campaigned to tackle child poverty at Christmas, but children shouldn’t have to rely on your generosity.
Allowing children to live in poverty is a political choice — the state is failing every child who goes to bed hungry, every child in an unheated home, and every child missing their education because they can’t access the necessary technology.
It’s failing every parent who makes choices about heating the house or feeding the kids. The mental health impact of poverty on parents is a children’s rights issue.
The UNCRC will change that because it requires the government to make decisions in the best interests of children, to listen to families, and to use all its resources to the maximum extent possible.
Source (The Scottish Sun, March 2021)
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