As Minister for Children and Young People, I feel a great sense of honour in laying this second report, 'Progressing the Human Rights of Children in Scotland 2018-2021', and the action plan for 2021-2024, before the Scottish Parliament, and before the children and young people of Scotland. As well as setting out our four priority strategic actions for the next three years under the action plan, this report also provides an update on how the Scottish Government has worked over the past three years to help to take forward children's rights.
The last 18 months have been incredibly challenging for Scotland's children, young people and their families, with the global coronavirus pandemic and the impact of the measures necessary to protect public health and our NHS. The pandemic has had a profound effect on the lives of children and young people in Scotland and I am immensely proud and impressed with the way in which they have responded to these unprecedented circumstances.
I was also very proud when the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill was backed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament in March 2021 and disappointed when the UK Supreme Court ruled that certain parts of the Bill were outwith the competence of the Scottish Parliament. I can confirm, however, that the Scottish Government remains committed to incorporating the UNCRC into domestic law to the maximum extent possible as soon as practicable and that we are considering with urgency the best way to do that. In the meantime, the majority of work in relation to implementation of the UNCRC can and is continuing.
This report sets out major children's rights based policies and legislation progressed over the last three years. However; there is more to do to ensure that every child and young person in Scotland can experience all of their rights to the fullest and our action plan sets out our priorities for that work over the period 2021-2024.
I want to express my heartfelt thanks to the many children, young people and stakeholders, who have worked tirelessly towards making children's rights real in Scotland, and who continue to be part of this exciting journey. I am incredibly proud to have this opportunity to work for the children and young people of Scotland to ensure that all children's rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.
Clare Haughey MSP
Minister for Children and Young People