Statement on the Equality and Human Rights Committee Report on Human Rights and the Scottish Parliament

We welcome the publication of the Equalities and Human Rights Committee report on the role of the Scottish Parliament as a human rights guarantor. One of the priorities in our strategic plan 2018-20, laid before the Parliament in March, is to establish a culture of children’s human rights in Scotland.

Children do not have the same political or economic power as adults and it is therefore essential that in its role as a human rights guarantor the Scottish Parliament pays particular attention to children and young people’s rights and ensures that they are fully involved in decision making on all matters that affect them.

Children are impacted by a host of issues, ranging from transportation policy to health and education. Their involvement in parliamentary business and the democratic process should not be limited to a narrow range of topics. The Scottish Parliament must ensure that children and young people’s rights are mainstreamed into its day-to-day work; across all policy areas and make it a priority to engage children in this endeavour.

Commissioner, Bruce Adamson says:

“When it comes to human rights promotion and protection, the Scottish Parliament and Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) are essential actors.  The unique role national parliaments can and should play in monitoring and scrutinising their Government’s fulfilment of international human rights commitments has been clearly articulated by the United Nations, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Council of Europe and the European Union. 

This report explores what further steps the Scottish Parliament should take to ensure that international human rights law, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), is being followed in Scotland. My office has argued strongly that incorporating the UNCRC into Scots Law is a long overdue, logical next step to strengthen the Parliament’s role as human rights guarantor and to further promote and protect children’s human rights. This is why we have produced a draft Bill which shows how incorporation could be accomplished swiftly and effectively. Now is the time to take action.”

Read our written evidence to the Equality and Human Rights Committee Inquiry on Human Rights and the Scottish Parliament.

Read the draft Children’s Rights (Scotland) Bill.

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