Promoting children and young people’s rights
Today our office publishes our 2022/2023 Annual Report. It covers 1 April, 2022, until 31 March, 2023 and is Commissioner Bruce Adamson’s final report before he left office. We are emerging from the pandemic, and life has returned to more “normality” for children and young people, but we know many of the impacts of Covid will stay with us. Children whose rights were already most at risk were disproportionally impacted by the pandemic and the recovery must be rights-based to tackle this.
Involving children and young people
Participation was, once again, at the heart of our work. We continued to travel all over Scotland to listen to the views and experiences of children and young people in schools, nurseries, and youth groups. We carried on meeting different groups of children online and our Young Advisors helped steer our work.
Incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
In March 2021, the Scottish Parliament voted unanimously to enshrine children’s rights in law. Yet, over two years later, children are still waiting. We have continued to push the Scottish Government to address the amendments required by the Supreme Court. Their lack of action is gravely concerning. They must bring the Bill back to parliament urgently and commit to immediate commencement when it’s passed.
What else have we done?
We have focused on child poverty and continued to press the UK and Scottish governments to tackle it. As the cost-of-living crisis deepened with devastating impacts on children, we challenged Ofgem and the UK Government over fuel poverty. We joined forces with the Children’s Commissioners from Northern Ireland and Wales to call for more support to families, including wider social security reform and scrapping families’ public authority debts, such as for school dinners.
We fought against changes to rights protections in the Human Rights Act, we launched our new Strategic Litigation Toolkit, we made sure the rights of asylum-seeking mothers and babies were protected, and we continued to work with children’s commissioners and young advisors from across Europe.
We also celebrated our 18th birthday at the Scottish Parliament and in a West Lothian nursery. We’ve been championing children’s rights for an entire childhood, and children and young people were at the centre of our celebrations.