Statement: Commissioner concerned about “lack of urgency” surrounding UNCRC incorporation as office turns 18

Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner, said: “Scotland must turn its rhetoric on human rights into real, sustained change for children. The pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine have highlighted just how fragile human rights protections can be. Young human rights defenders are calling out our failures to take a rights-based approach to climate change and to address poverty, or the mental health crisis facing children and young people. Scotland’s low age of criminal responsibility and the continuing detention of children in prisons paints a bleak picture of our commitment to children’s rights. We can do so much better.”

“Putting rights into law is the best way to live up to our promises to children – to create that family environment of happiness, love and understanding that we committed to in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). It’s been over a year since the Scottish Parliament unanimously passed the law to incorporate the UNCRC, but after the UK Supreme Court asked for amendments, progress has stalled. There’s been a concerning lack of urgency from the Scottish Government. Six months of silence. Every day of delay is another day that children’s rights aren’t protected.  

“Rights shouldn’t be ignored or delayed in times of crisis, and our recovery from the pandemic must be rights-based. Incorporation means it’ll no longer be good enough to simply pay lip service to children’s rights; they will be fundamental when it comes to policies, legislation and budgets. And there will be much-needed accountability for public bodies who fail to respect, protect and fulfil children’s rights. 

“Put simply, Scotland’s children need incorporation, and they need it now.” 

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