First Minister announces bill to enshrine UNCRC into Scots law

September 2, 2020

It was announced yesterday by Scotland’s First Minister that a Bill will be introduced before the end of this parliament that will enshrine the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots Law. As a member of Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) we warmly welcome the introduction of the Bill, and believe this marks 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.

In a letter sent to MSPs after the announcement signed by all Together members, the alliance praised the introduction of the Incorporation Bill to the Scottish Parliament and heralded it as ‘one of the most significant steps forward on this journey so far’, and urged all of Scotland’s MSPs to support the Bill, and in doing so help Scotland to take a huge step towards becoming a world leader in protecting children and young people’s rights.

The Incorporation Bill has been widely welcomed by supporters across public life in Scotland including children’s charities, the health sector, social work, education, Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner, and by the many children and young people who campaigned for the incorporation of UNCRC into Scots law.

Chief Executive of Humanist Society Scotland, Fraser Sutherland, joined the chorus of praise for the announcement,

We believe that human rights are something that you are born with, not something that is earned with age, and the incorporation of  UNCRC into Scots law is essential if we want to create a Scotland that values its citizens at every age and stage in life. We are keen to see the Bill trigger a long overdue shift in Scotland’s public schools that would end the compulsory attendance of pupils at Religious Observance sessions. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child highlighted in 2016 that the current system that doesn’t allow pupils to opt out of religious observance was not in keeping with Convention Rights. We hope that this is rectified as swiftly as possible after the Incorporation Bill is passed.

To read more about children and young people’s current rights on religious observance in Scottish schools see here.

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