Children and young people's voices matter: progress report - February 2019
Progress on the actions agreed at the Cabinet meeting with children and young people in March 2018.
9. We will encourage more people to be Unfearties and raise awareness of children’s rights amongst children, young people and adults.
We are encouraging more people to be Unfearties. Many people who work in Scottish Government to improve the lives of children and young people have now become an Unfeartie.
One of the actions in our Action Plan is to raise awareness and understanding of children’s rights across all sectors of society in Scotland.
10. We will encourage more people, particularly children and young people, to be Human Rights Defenders.
What is a Human Rights Defender (HRD)?
The United Nations defines human rights defenders as: “People who, individually or with others, act to promote or protect human rights.” This includes the Children’s Parliament, the Scottish Youth Parliament, and any other organisation or individual who takes any form of action on any human rights issue.
Children’s rights, within the bigger picture of human rights, are at the heart of our National Performance Framework (NPF), which includes “We respect, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from discrimination” and “We grow up loved, safe and respected so that we realise our full potential”.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child chose “Protecting and Empowering Children as Human Rights Defenders” as the theme for its Day of General Discussion. The Children’s Parliament, Scottish Youth Parliament, Together, the Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland and WhoCares?Scotland went to this event in Geneva in September 2018.
Children and young people from the Children’s Parliament, Scottish Youth Parliament and WhoCares?Scotland spoke about their work in Scotland as human rights defenders. Five giant shields on human rights defenders – that were made by the Children’s Parliament – were also on display.
The Scottish Human Rights Defender Fellowship – a partnership between the Scottish Government, Scottish universities and organisations – ran for the first time from September to December 2018 at the University of Dundee. It gives HRDs, who live in difficult conditions, the opportunity to spend three months in Scotland. They can continue with their work and meet new people in a place of safety. Three HRDs took part in the Fellowship.
A meeting between the three HRDs taking part in the Scottish Human Rights Defender Fellowship and the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland human rights defenders action group took place in November 2018.
We are standing firm in supporting our existing human rights protections in the face of Brexit and threats to the Human Rights Act. We have also made human rights central to policies – such as social security.
We support all rights-based learning approaches – including Rights Respecting Schools, which can help encourage and mobilise children and young people to take an interest in human rights.
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