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Protecting Our Children: The UNC Rights of the Child

There are few issues which bring Scotland’s politicians, usually eager to score political points off each other, to come together and vote as one – but that is what they did when in the Scottish Parliament they decided to enshrine the UNC Rights of the Child into Scots Law. Scotland’s Parliament Enshrines the UNC Rights of the Child into Law

But power devolved is power retained – and no Bill passed (even unanimously) in the Scottish Parliament can become a law until it is signed off by the monarch. The UK Government challenged the Bill through the Supreme Court and they won. This means the Bill, as decided upon by the Scottish Parliament, cannot be enacted and will have to be changed.

Yesterday in The Orkney News we published the views of Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner: UK Government Successfully Challenges Incorporating Rights of the Child into Scots Law: “the protection of children’s human rights must still happen.”

Commenting on the action of the UK Government to prevent the enshrining in law of the UN Rights of the Child, Emma Roddick, SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands said:

“The SNP Scottish Government introduced the UNCRC Bill to put the needs of children in Orkney and across Scotland at the very heart of every decision made by government and local authorities.

“However, those noble intentions have been scuppered by the Westminster Tories’ challenge. The court judgment lays bare the limits placed on the Scottish Parliament and within the devolution settlement that we cannot introduce vital protections for our young people – leaving them at the mercy of a callous Tory UK Government.

“We cannot trust the Tories to protect future generations in Scotland as they cut Universal Credit this week and plunge 20,000 children into poverty.

“Orkney families will face a decision of whether to heat their homes or feed their children as the cost of living skyrockets with energy bills increasing and food bills going up.

“The only way we can ensure we protect the future of Scotland from an uncaring Tory UK Government is with the full powers of independence.”

The Bill, as originally passed, would also have given more decision making powers to local government, that is also now delayed.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, or UNCRC, is the basis of all of UNICEF’s work. It is the most complete statement of children’s rights ever produced and is the most widely-ratified international human rights treaty in history.

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

You can watch the Ministerial statement by John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and the Q & A here:

Fiona Grahame

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