Children’s Commissioner Nicola Killean has taken part in a conference on children’s rights with 80 secondary pupils from Midlothian.
She delivered the keynote speech at the Midlothian Learners Conference in Dalkeith today, where pupils from S1 to S6 are covering topics on children’s rights, the cost of the school day, and rights respecting schools.
Commissioner Nicola talked about what rights are, why they matter, and what positive impact taking a rights-based approach can have. She said: “Child rights approaches have a few things at the heart of them that are so important.
“It’s a way of working that treats all children and young people with dignity. It also respects growing and developing capacity and ability to be involved in decisions that affect their lives.
“It puts children and young people’s best interests first. Not last – first.
“And it strengthens our ability to meet children’s different needs.”
The Commissioner – who explained the office’s role in being a fierce champion for children’s rights – also talked about how powerful it is to be young human rights defenders. She said: “You already are, or have the potential to become, human rights defenders.
“Human rights defenders are people who protect or promote human rights, whether these are your own, or the rights of others. A child human rights defender is someone who does this and is under 18.
“I am looking at around 80 young people today who have the power to defend the rights of children, for themselves and for others.”