Joint Committee on Human Rights publishes report on UK compliance with UNCRC
Date: 24th March 2015
Category: Reporting to and monitoring the UNCRC
UK Joint Committee states it would like to see the UNCRC incorporated into UK law, in a report following a short inquiry into compliance with the Convention.
The report was published on 24th March 2015 and follows an inquiry into compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The Inquiry took place against the backdrop of the forthcoming review of UK compliance with the UNCRC by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which is set to take place in 2016.
Three evidence sessions were held as part of the inquiry and written evidence was received by the Committee from eleven organisations across the UK jurisdictions, including Together and clan childlaw from Scotland.
Together welcomes the inquiry report, which includes the following conclusions:
- "The Government's reforms to legal aid have been a significant black mark on its human rights record during the second half of this Parliament..." The report recommends that a new Government of whatever make-up should look again at these reforms and to undo some of the harm they have caused to children.
- "Ideally, we would like to see the UNCRC incorporated into UK law in the same way that the European Convention on Human Rights has been incorporated by means of the Human Rights Act."
- "We believe that the Government should ratify the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which would give children the right of individual petition to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child."
- In relation to the issue of equal protection from assault, the Joint Commitee states: "We hope that our successor Committee will have an opportunity to scrutinise this issue, which we know is a controversial one in the UK, in the light of the UN Committee's Concluding Observations which will be delivered in 2016."
- "We are aware of the complexity of the devolution settlement which will no doubt continue to evolve over the next Parliament. ...we do believe that a UK-wide examination of the impacts of devolution on the protection and promotion of human rights is required after the Election."
Together's submission to the Joint Committee on Human Rights encouraged consideration of the following:
- Incorporation of the UNCRC into law;
- A mechanism to be put in place to ensure that the UK Government's exercise of reserved powers is assessed for its impact on the human rights of children in Scotland and the other devolved nations;
- Ensuring that Scotland and the devolved nations are routinely and comprehensively involved in international human rights reporting mechanisms.
Together welcomes the references the Joint Committee has made to its written evidence within the inquiry report and looks forward to working with the new Joint Committee after the 2015 election, to support the recommendations that have been included.