Karen Adam is now the MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast

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17 March 2021

Stevenson Welcomes UN Rights of the Child Bill Becoming Law

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed Scotland becoming the first country in the UK to put the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into law.

It comes after MSPs vote unanimously to pass the Bill at Stage Three and the Bill will now commence six months from Royal Assent.

The move means public authorities will have to comply with children’s rights and Scotland is one of only a small number of nations who have directly incorporate the UNCRC into domestic law.

It sets out the specific rights that all children have to help fulfil their potential, including rights relating to health and education, leisure and play, fair and equal treatment, protection from exploitation and the right to be heard.

The Bill makes it unlawful for public authorities and anyone undertaking functions or providing services to children with public money to act incompatibly with the incorporated UNCRC requirements

It also gives power to the Children’s Commissioner to take legal action in relation to children’s rights and requires Ministers to produce a Children’s Rights Scheme setting out how they comply with children’s rights and to report annually.

A £2.1 million programme over three years will help public authorities implement the legislation.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“This is a landmark Bill which is the most significant piece of legislation since devolution, delivering a revolution in children’s rights. That is a major cause for celebration.

“The Bill will deliver the highest protection possible for children’s rights across the north-east and Scotland and within the powers of this Parliament.

“It will ensure that a rights-respecting approach is at the heart of our recovery from the pandemic.

“Parliament passing this Bill means that Scotland stands amongst a small number of nations like Norway, Belgium and Finland, and I am proud the Scottish Parliament’s work will encourage other countries to follow suit.

“But it does not represent the end of the journey in making children’s rights real. It is now incumbent upon us all to ensure the Bill’s ambitions are translated into real-life improvements which transform the lives and life chances of our children and young people.”

Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland Bruce Adamson said: “Scotland has shown real human rights leadership in incorporating the UNCRC into Scots law. It is the most important thing we can do to protect and uphold the rights of children and young people.

“Exactly 18 years ago, the Scottish Parliament showed its commitment to children’s rights by creating the office of the Children’s Commissioner and today it has reinforced that commitment by passing the Scottish Government’s world-leading children’s human rights legislation. This will improve life for all children but children whose rights are most at risk will feel the biggest impact."

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