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  • UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Bill to become law in Scotland

    Created: 17/03/2021

    The Scottish Government has announced that Scotland is to become the first devolved nation in the world to directly incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into domestic law.

    MSPs voted unanimously for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill to become law, meaning public authorities will have to comply with children’s rights. The Bill will commence six months from Royal Assent, signalling a culture shift that has the potential to transform children’s lives in Scotland.

    The UNCRC sets out the specific rights that all children have to help fulfill their potential, including rights relating to health and education, leisure and play, fair and equal treatment, protection from exploitation and the right to be heard.

    The Bill:

    • directly incorporates the UNCRC as far as possible within the powers of the Scottish Parliament;
    • makes it unlawful for public authorities and anyone undertaking functions or providing services to children with public money to act incompatibly with the incorporated UNCRC requirements;
    • gives power to the Children’s Commissioner to take legal action in relation to children’s rights;
    • requires Ministers to produce a Children’s Rights Scheme setting out how they comply with children’s rights and to report annually;
    • requires listed public authorities to report every three years on how they comply with children’s rights; and
    • gives children, young people and their representatives the right to go to court to enforce their rights, if necessary.

    A £2.1 million programme over three years will help public authorities implement the legislation. This will include funding for guidance and training to help public authorities prepare for implementation. Work will also be done to empower children to claim their rights.

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