Programme for Government 2018-19

Scottish Government's 2018-19 Programme for Government includes a commitment to incorporate the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law. 

Launching the Programme on 4th September 2018, the First Minister said:

"In the Year of Young People, we have the opportunity to underline our commitment to future generations. We have the chance to fundamentally change the way in which we deal with the rights of young people. That is why this Programme for Government commits us to incorporating the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law. We will need to work with partners across public services and wider civic society to ensure that we do so in a way that promotes those rights most effectively, but now is the time to commit to that work."

Together’s 2016 State of Children's Rights report explored why Scotland needs to fully incorporate children's human rights into domestic law. Incorporation means "the provisions of the UNCRC can be directly invoked before the courts and applied by national authorities and [...] will prevail where there is a conflict with domestic legislation or common practice."


Programme for Government 2017-18

Scottish Government's 2017-18 Programme for Government made several commitments in progressing children's rights during 2018, the Year of Young People.  These include:

  • Raising the minimum age of criminal responsiblity in Scotland from 8 to 12;
  • Supporting John Finnie's Bill to ensure equal protection from violence for children and removing the legal defense of 'justifiable assault';
  • Undertaking an audit on the most effective way to further embed the principles of the UNCRC into policy and legislation, including the option of full incorporation;
  • Begin a three-year programme to raise awareness and understanding of children's rights, including among children and young people themselves.