Together responds to inquiry on Human Rights and Scottish Parliament

Date: 16th March 2018
Category: Scotland-specific monitoring and reporting

Together has responded to the inquiry into Human Rights and the Scottish Parliament, highlighting the need to engage children in the work of the Parliament.

The inquiry was undertaken by the Scottish Parliament's Equalities and Human Rights Committee in order to ensure they can adopt the best possible approach to considering human rights following the addition of human rights to the remit of the Committee in 2016.

The inquiry considers three main themes: participation and engagement, parliamentary procedure and process, and accountability.

In our response, Together highlights the following key messages and recommendations:

  • Children and young people under the age of 16 cannot vote in Scottish Parliament elections and Parliamentarians are therefore not electorally accountable to them.
  • This means that greater efforts must be taken to engage children and young people in the work of the Scottish Parliament and for MSPs to scrutinise the implementation of children's human rights.
  • Scottish Parliament should draw from international experience to explore the best ways in which to engage children and young people, for example through the development of an online child-friendly portal.
  • Steps taken by Scottish Government to implement international human rights obligations for children should be scrutinised through regular Parliamentary debates.
  • Parliamentarians and other Parliamentary staff should undertake training on children's rights and how to take a rights-based approach to their work in order to develop capacity and expertise in children's rights.
  • Scottish Parliament should work to strengthen relationships and networks between the Parliament and those working with and for children and children and young people themselves.

  • Read Together's full inquiry response here.