Strengthening Children's Rights in Scotland

Monday, 5 October 2020


Quakers in Scotland are working with Together (Scottish Alliance for
Children’s Rights) on a new Bill to enshrine children’s rights into Scots
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland)
Bill was launched as part of the Programme for Government 2020-21.

Quakers in Scotland joined 49 other members of Together in writing to MSPs to
welcome the Bill. The letter emphasised the importance of creating a culture where
children’s rights are respected, protected, and fulfilled.

Elizabeth Allen, Clerk of General Meeting for Scotland, said:
“Quakers in Scotland have a proud history of advocating for children’s rights, from
scrutinising military visits in schools to campaigning for equal protection from assault.
“We thank our partners at Together for their hard work in developing this Bill with the
Scottish Government. We look forward to working with them to ensure the Bill is
passed and implemented, to the benefit of all children in Scotland.”
The full text of the letter is as follows:

Dear Members of the Scottish Parliament
“As members of Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights), we warmly
welcome the introduction of a Bill to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of
the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law. We believe this is a significant moment in
realising our shared vision of ensuring all children and young people growing up in
Scotland have their human rights respected, protected and fulfilled.
“Children, young people, their families and wider civil society have been working
towards UNCRC incorporation for very many years. The journey began back in 1991
when the UK first ratified the UNCRC, placing a duty on Scotland to give effect to the
UNCRC under international law. Over the following 29 years, there have been many
more important milestones, including the creation of our world-leading Children’s
Parliament and Scottish Youth Parliament which have been leading calls for
children’s rights to be made binding in law. This campaign to secure children’s rights
in law has gathered widespread support across many sectors and professions
including health, social work, education and the police. The introduction of the
UNCRC Incorporation Bill to the Scottish Parliament will be one of the most
significant steps forward on this journey so far.

“We know from international experience that incorporation encourages a culture
change in which children and young people are better valued and respected. In
uncertain times like these, the importance of legal protections for children and young
people’s human rights is more evident than ever. Passing the Bill will be one of the
most important things the Scottish Parliament can do to ensure children’s rights are
respected, protected, and fulfilled. It will provide a meaningful legacy to the Year of
Young People 2018 and make sure that future generations benefit from the hard
work and commitment of today’s children and young people.
“We look forward to your support in this important step towards Scotland becoming a
world leader in protecting children and young people’s rights. Please do get in touch
if you have any questions about UNCRC incorporation or as the Bill progresses
through the Scottish Parliament. In the meantime, we hope you will be keen to
celebrate the introduction of the UNCRC Incorporation Bill with us!
“With thanks and best wishes
“Juliet Harris, Director, Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights)”
The letter was signed by Elizabeth Allen for Quakers in Scotland. A copy of the letter
with the full list of signatories is available here.

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