Cover for policy work created by the Commissioner's office.

MSP Briefing: Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill

January 2021. Our briefing to MSPs ahead of the legislative consent memorandum debate on this Bill makes it clear that children in Scotland must be protected from being used as a covert human intelligence source (CHIS). Scots law should not permit them to be used as such, as it is a violation of children’s human rights.

Given the additional vulnerability of children, the imbalance of power between children and the State, and the level of risk involved for a child in acting as a CHIS, permitting them to be used in this way is incompatible with the State’s obligations to respect, protect and fulfill their human rights.

The Commissioner urges Parliament to:

  • refuse to provide legislative consent for the Bill, on the grounds that it represents a clear violation of children’s human rights.
  • call on the Scottish Government to repeal existing provisions in Scots law and thereby ensure that no child can ever be authorised as a CHIS.
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