We’re glad to share our Annual Report for 2017-18 covering Commissioner Bruce Adamson’s first year in post, which was laid at Scottish Parliament today.
Our mission is to be the fierce champions of children’s human rights, ensuring that duty bearers are accountable for their human rights obligations.
After coming into post, Bruce made it his first priority to find out from children and young people what they wanted from their Commissioner, not only concentrating on their human rights concerns but also involving them in important decisions around how the office operates.
We travelled all around Scotland, including to our rural communities and islands. The Commissioner met children and young people of different ages, with a rich variety of experiences and views and paid particular attention to children and young people whose rights are most at risk. Their powerful views and experiences helped us create a revised version of our Strategic Plan 2018-2020 .
Other highlights from the report
- Launching an investigation into restraint and seclusion in Scotland’s schools – this will report shortly,
- Undertaking our first piece of strategic litigation; intervening in a case to bring children’s human rights arguments to the attention of the court,
- Starting a major national and international project to inspire and encourage children and young people to be, or to recognise themselves, as Human Rights Defenders,
- Creating new resources on children’s human rights to raise awareness and understanding,
- Pressing for essential changes in the laws that affect children and young people including children having equal protection from assault and the minimum age of criminal responsibility,
- Hosting our inaugural Young People’s Human Rights Gathering in West Lothian, bringing together young people from all across Scotland to a three-day residential to help us review our work and inform our future plans,
- Supported by young people, making effective changes within the office to how we work, including a new staffing structure.
Next year we look forward to launching our new participation plan to involve children and young people in all aspects of our work, including a governance group, and welcoming young volunteers from Project Scotland to work with us.
We will continue to press for Scotland to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is only with incorporation of the Convention into our domestic law that we can truly be the rights respecting country we aspire to be.
Our children’s report
It is important that children and young people can find out about our work in a way that is appealing to them. This year, we worked with children and young people from the Loanhead After School Club (LASC) in Midlothian to find out what they would like their version of our 2017/18 report to look like.
They told us they’d like to see bold, exciting illustrations with short voiceovers explaining what they were about. So we worked with an illustrator to create pictures showing what we did throughout the year, and lent our voices as an office to saying what we did.
The LASC’s feedback helped us make sure the final pictures were as clear as they could be, and we would like to thank all the children, young people and adults who worked with us to create the report. We would also like to thank Nathan Daniels for illustrating it.
Deaf Action have created a BSL signed version of the children and young people’s report, which will be available shortly.