We’re delighted by the news that children in Scotland will soon have the same legal protection from assault that adults do.
The passage of the (Equal Protection from Assault)(Scotland) Act in the Scottish Parliament today brings Scotland into step with international human rights norms outlined by both the United Nations and the Council of Europe.
Scotland’s children have been sent a letter by Marta Santos Pais to mark the occasion.
Marta is a former UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence against Children, and helped draft the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that sets out the human rights children and young people enjoy.
Her letter is here:
Open letter to Scotland’s children
Warm congratulations to the children in Scotland for today’s adoption by Parliament of legislation to protect every child from any form of violence, including physical punishment. This is a historic decision which will have a long-lasting impact in Scotland and will certainly also trigger positive change in many countries around the world! Although the new law was long in the making, it is being approved at a very auspicious time, as the international community is commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Many have been working hard to see this fundamental right of children solemnly recognised by law – Parliamentarians, governmental officials, the Children and Young People’s Commissioner, civil society partners and many others. But children’s voices and perspectives have been at the heart of this movement. Indeed, children and young people human rights defenders have been at the forefront of these efforts, helping everyone realise that children are people too! and their right to freedom from violence and respect to their human dignity cannot be compromised on any ground.
Let us celebrate the new law! But let us also resist the temptation of becoming complacent. The time is for action. It is vital to translate the new legislation into children´s everyday life! And it is urgent to continue to vigorously promote the incorporation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child into the Scottish legal framework – only then will the legal protection of children’s rights become a reality for all!
Marta Santos Pais
Former UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence against Children (2009-2019)