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UNCRC (Incorporation) Bill Response

Gary Seath 6 months ago

Influencing Policy Media

Forces Children Scotland welcomes the Scottish Parliament passing the UNCRC (Incorporation) Bill.  

The Bill will incorporate the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots Law and put measures in place to achieve greater accountability across public services regarding children’s rights. 

This means greater protection for children and young people across Scotland when it comes to children’s rights, who will have the power to take matters to court to ensure their rights are upheld. 

This Bill has seen ten years of intense campaigning by children’s rights organisations.

It was originally passed by the Scottish Parliament in March 2021 but faced legal challenges when the UK Supreme Court ruled certain elements fell out with its devolved powers. 

The reintroduction of the UNCRC Bill reduced its scope to only cover Acts of the Scottish Parliament.  

This bill will only apply to laws that the Scottish Parliament. Although disappointing that the scope was reduced, the Bill adds significant rights protections for children and young people across Scotland.  

Children and young people from armed forces and veteran families will also be covered in the bill, however, matters of defence will not be covered by the Bill. 

There are over 12,500 children and young from armed forces and veteran families across Scotland.

They have said that many civilian educators, professionals, and decision-makers  do not understand how many of their unique experiences living in forces families can affect their ability to realise their potential and thrive. 

Children and young people from this community have called upon those supporting them, or making important decisions about their future, to adopt an enhanced children’s rights approach to meeting their unique support needs. 

That’s why it’s so important the UNCRC Incorporation Bill is passed into law for this specific group of children and young people, to meet their unique support needs concerning mental health, education, making important transitions, and much more. 

Forces Children Scotland will continue to campaign for more rights protections for children and young people from armed forces and veteran families so that they can reach their potential & thrive. 

Laura Falconer, Chief Executive Officer from Forces Children Scotland, said: 

“When it comes to children from armed forces and veteran families, Scotland must consider the unique shape of their childhoods within the armed forces community to understand fully if it is doing everything possible to protect their rights.  

“Children within this community often experience high levels of mobility, meaning they can move around the UK and beyond, repeatedly, throughout their childhood due to the role of a serving parent. Likewise, the very nature of service can cause separation between child and parent during deployments or other military-related events.  

“Furthermore, because of the reserved status of ‘defence’, children from this community are subject to the determination of both the UK Government and the Scottish Government in a way that many of their civilian peers are not.  

“While education, health and housing are devolved policy areas, the experiences of children from the armed forces community remain highly influenced by defence decision-making.  

“The Armed Forces Covenant and its associated Duty (2022) go some way towards strengthening protections for this community, but clarity is required over how this will be implemented in Scotland and how it interacts with the future of children’s rights.  

“It is vital that we better understand the realisation of rights for children and young people in this community. Core to this is consideration of the implementation of their rights, monitoring how they are upheld and their means to access justice should their rights be at threat.”

 

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