Commissioner asks Scottish Government to be clear on when child rights become Scots law

22 March 2019

Image reading: 'There’s no word of when legislation will be brought forward around incorporation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. But a Bill needs to be before the Scottish Parliament this year to make sure there is time for it to be passed.'

Commissioner Bruce Adamson has written to Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd MSP asking for her to be clear on when and how the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child will be incorporated into Scots law.

In the 2018/19 Programme for Government, the First Minister committed to incorporate the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into law .

Since then, however, there has been no clear outline of timescales for consultation around incorporation.

There’s also no word of when legislation will be bought forward.

This year is the 30th anniversary of the UNCRC and right now there’s a majority in the Scottish Parliament for UNCRC incorporation, but the session ends in early 2021, so legislation needs to be before Parliament this year to make sure there is time for it to be passed .

There isn’t much time for the Government to set out how it intends to make child rights a reality.

Letter to Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd MSP

Dear Minister for Children and Young People,

Many thanks for your letter dated 20 December. I am pleased to hear that the work of the Incorporation Advisory Group that my office and Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) have convened has been welcomed by and helpful to the Scottish Government.

I very much welcomed the Programme for Government commitment to ‘incorporate the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into law’.

I also note your strong support for incorporation and commitment to consult on the best way to take this forward in your letter dated 20 December 2018.

I am however concerned that 6 months on from the Programme for Government commitment, there has yet to be a clear outline of timescales for the consultation on models of incorporation, or indeed of a legislative timetable.

This is despite repeated requests from children and young people to incorporate the UNCRC within this session of parliament, including at the most recent Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 5th March.

As I have highlighted in our previous meetings and correspondence, I have sought to work constructively to ensure that a bill can be introduced in the Scottish Parliament in autumn 2019 – the 30th Anniversary of the UNCRC – with a view to it being passed before the end of the parliamentary term.

I am therefore seeking further clarity on timescales for the consultation on models of incorporation, and on legislation to enact this.

I look forward to continuing to work constructively to progress your welcome commitment to incorporating the UNCRC into Scots law.

With best wishes

Yours Sincerely,

Bruce Adamson Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland

Learn more

Learn more about UNCRC Incorporation.

Read the draft Bill on UNCRC Incorporation we worked with Together Scotland to create.