Rights, Cake and a Birthday Party to remember: Our Young People’s Human Rights Gathering 2019

Our office is fresh from the most exciting event in our year: the Young People’s Human Rights Gathering! It’s a weekend where young people come from all over Scotland to tell us what we can do better as an office, and where they have a lot of fun along the way.

This year almost 50 young people came to the Gathering, which we held in our office and in Edinburgh Zoo. STV came to record footage for a news piece which unfortunately never aired, but you can watch it below to get a flavour of what the day was like:

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Young people make it happen

A young person stands in front of a screen explaining something to a crowd. It's clear from the text on the screen behind him that he is talking about rights.

Young people including our team of Young Advisers are part of what makes the Gathering happen. They take part in explaining human rights and in helping participants to think about them, so that everyone’s engaged and involved.

A time to celebrate…

A large crowd of young people and adults at the Gathering stand smiling around a giant 30 to celebrate the birthday of the UNCRC. In the centre are the three Children's Commissioners Scotland has had since our office was established.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is turning 30 (woo!) so some of what we did this year was celebratory. We got all Scotland’s Children’s Commissioners past and present together for the event, and thought about how things have changed since the UNCRC was adopted in 1989.

A time to look ahead…

Two young people at the Gathering creating a flag that highlights a right that isn't respected for all children and young people in Scotland.

But what the Gathering’s mainly about is how our office can do better in the future. We’ll soon be laying our Strategic Plan for 2020-24 before the Scottish Parliament, which will explain the direction we intend to take for the rest of Bruce Adamson’s time as Commissioner and beyond. At the Gathering we asked young people to tell us what needs to change in Scotland so that rights are respected, but also how we need to change. They’ve given us a lot of ideas, so we’ll get back to them soon to say what we’re going to do next.

A time to have fun!

But the Gathering is also an amazing experience for everyone who’s involved: a time for dancing and eating cake, to be creative and make new friends. We’re always touched by the feedback we get after everything’s over and when it’s time for the week to begin again- it’s clear that for lots of young people the Gathering’s a special experience, and we want to keep working to make sure that’s true for any event we hold for children and young people.


Thanks to everyone who’s been involved in making this year’s Gathering happen: our Young Advisers, every young person, the volunteer helpers who turned up to make sure things went smoothly. Everything you’ve done is genuinely appreciated by us all.

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