Professor Elaine Sutherland supplementary evidence on CYP Bill

Date: 29th October 2013
Category: UK 1st periodic review

Professor Elaine Sutherland asks whether we want Scotland to be a "leader or a follower in terms of respecting children's rights" and outlines reasons to incorporate the UNCRC.

The supplementary written evidence builds on Elaine Sutherland's previous written submissions made during the consultation process on the draft Children and Young People Bill, focusing specifically on her previous arguments in favour of incorporation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Elaine Sutherland has challenged "some inaccurate or misleading evidence" that has been given to the Committee surrounding incorporation of the UNCRC, and the written evidence responds to many of Professor Kenneth Norrie's assertions that were made during oral and written evidence to the Committee. These include that: "the UN Convention was not drafted or worded to create directly enforceable legal rights in the domestic legal system" and "only a tiny number of countries -- three or four at most -- have incorporated the convention into their law".

The reasons for Scotland to incorporate the UNCRC are outlined in the final section of the written evidence, which include a signalling that child-specific human rights are taken seriously in Scotland and that these would become enforceable in Scotland. Elaine Sutherland recognises that "much fine work has already been done in Scotland in implementing the obligations under the UN Convention", yet there is "much room for improvement."

The evidence eloquently concludes that unless the Scottish Government are proactive in their expression to make Scotland "the best place in the world to grow up in" then we will continue to lag behind world-leaders that have already done so.