SHRC submission – Children and Young People Bill Stage 1

Date: 2nd August 2013
Category: UK 1st periodic review

The Scottish Human Rights Commission has called on the Scottish Government to strengthen human rights protection as they consider new legislation on children's rights.

In a submission to the Education and Culture Committee Stage 1 consideration of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill, the Commission calls for a key section on the proposed duties of Scottish Ministers to be revised in relation to the rights of children.

The Commission makes three recommendations to ensure the best possible outcomes for children and young people in Scotland:

  1. That the Scottish Government recommit to the full and direct incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law and looks to develop a timetable for incorporation.
  2. That Section 1 is considerably strengthened and extended to all Scottish public authorities.
  3. That the Committee ask the Scottish Government to demonstrate how the impact of the Bill on children's human rights has been assessed and consider whether the Bill represents an opportunity to promote the use of human rights impact assessment, including child rights impact assessment.


The Commission also highlights a range of key issues of concern that relate to the full realisation of the rights of children and young people in Scotland, which has been raised during the development of the SHRC's Getting it Right? research project and the subsequent participation process to develop Scotland's National Action Plan for Human Rights (SNAP). Together took part in the participation process for SNAP and their submission to the consultation can be found here.

Chair of the Commission Professor Alan Miller said: "There is an opportunity with the Bill to raise the bar in Scotland around protecting the human rights of children and young people. The current wording in the Bill is weak ... we are asking the Committee to scrutinise this section carefully and ask that the Scottish Government reconsider its position in relation to incorporation of this Convention in Scots Law. Children in Scotland are entitled to the full range of human rights under the Convention, and the Scottish Government and Parliament should take this opportunity to advance the full implementation of those rights in domestic law."

Access the SHRC's submission to the Education and Culture Committee here.