Children and young people are at the heart of our ambitions for the future. As Minister for Children and Young People, I feel a great sense of honour laying this first report and action plan, Progressing The Human Rights of Children in Scotland, before the Scottish Parliament, and before the children and young people of Scotland.
As a Government, our mission is to improve the life experience and life chances of our children and young people now, so they can thrive and be equipped to take advantage of tomorrow’s opportunities. We believe that addressing the rights of children and young people, as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), is fundamental to achieving this. Our Vision is a Scotland where children are recognised as citizens in their own rights and where their human rights are embedded in all aspects of society; a Scotland where policy, law and decision making takes account of children’s rights and where all children have a voice and are empowered to be human rights defenders.
As duty bearers under the UNCRC, we have an obligation to ensure that the rights of children are both recognised and realised. Our progress is examined periodically by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, however furthering children’s rights isn’t only about meeting our international obligations but about doing the very best that we can for Scotland’s youngest citizens. That is why in 2014, we legislated to place a duty on all Scottish Ministers to consider and act upon steps to further the UNCRC in Scotland and to promote public awareness and understanding of children’s rights. Now in 2018, the Year of Young People, we announced in our Programme for Government Delivering for today, investing for tomorrow our commitment to incorporate the principles of the UNCRC into Scots law.
This Report and Action Plan, Progressing The Human Rights of Children in Scotland, are the first documents compiled in fulfilment of Ministers’ duties under Part 1, section 1(4) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. The Report summarises the significant extent of Ministers’ activities in progressing children’s rights since commencement in June 2015 . The Action Plan sets out the Strategic Actions we will take forward in the next 3 years to deliver transformational change in how children and young people experience their rights.
I am proud to be the Minister for Children and Young People as we build on progress to date by further embedding children’s rights. It is fitting that we will continue the legacy of the Year of Young People by focussing on strategic actions that will make a difference to the lives of Scotland’s children and young people. I look forward to working with you to make rights real for all of our children.
Minister for Children and Young People