Message to children and young people from Minister for Children and Young People
To the Children and Young People of Scotland
I wanted to say thank you to the children and young people from Scotland who are participating in an important event happening in Spring with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva. The group from Scotland – known as #TeamScotlandUN – have already presented to the Committee in February, as part of the preparation for the session in May where Scotland’s approach to children’s right will be examined. This means that the Committee will have an opportunity to ask the Scottish Government questions and make recommendations about how we can do more for children’s rights.
Through their work with the Children’s Parliament and Scottish Youth Parliament, #TeamScotlandUN know lots about children and young people’s experiences of their rights so they were able to talk to the Committee about what is most important to children and young people across Scotland. You can read their report “The problems adults don’t see”: Scotland’s journey towards realising children and young people’s rights report and follow their work on social media using the hashtag #TeamScotlandUN.
I understand that the UN Committee was highly impressed by the children and young people from #TeamScotlandUN. I wanted to say thank you and also thank those who will return to Geneva in May to help make sure the Committee asks the questions that are most important to children and young people’s across Scotland. This is a great example of how children and young people are influencing matters that affect them and their communities.
Today marks the two year anniversary of the UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill being passed by the Scottish Parliament. One of the key issues that #TeamScotlandUN raised is the length of time that it is taking to bring the Bill back to the Scottish Parliament for ‘reconsideration’. Reconsideration stage will help us ‘fix’ the Bill after the Supreme Court told us that it could not become law in the way it was originally passed. #TeamScotlandUN told us that “the Scottish Government should fix the Bill as soon as possible so that children and young people’s rights can become the law.”
I want to take this opportunity to reassure you that we are fully committed to bringing the Bill back to Parliament. We have been sharing information with the UK Government about how we plan to fix the Bill, they have provided some feedback and we have recently sent them some changes that try to address that feedback. The focus has been on the circumstances in which we can require public bodies (like schools and hospitals) to act in a way that is compatible with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We have made clear to the UK Government that we intend to bring the Bill back to Parliament soon and have asked that if they have any new concerns, they tell us within the next few weeks. Depending on the response from the UK Government, we hope to bring the Bill back to Parliament before Parliament’s summer break.
The views of children and young people have driven forward every stage of this Bill – from the first idea to where we are today. I look forward to continuing to work with you to progress children’s rights in Scotland.
Minister for Children and Young People Clare Haughey MSP