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Published, 20 November 2019

Children's rights to be strengthened in Scotland

The Scottish Government has announced today (20 November 2019) that Scotland will incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into law to the maximum extent possible within the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

The Convention covers all aspects of a child's life and sets out the rights that all children everywhere are entitled to. It also explains how adults and governments must work together to make sure all children can enjoy all their rights.

This announcement follows a public consultation and analysis of the responses. The Scottish Government believes delivering the rights of children and young people, as enshrined in the UNCRC, is fundamental to making children's rights real and Scotland the best place in the world to grow up.

Speaking on the 30th anniversary of the UNCRC, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: "Through the responses to our consultation, it is clear there is widespread support for directly and fully incorporating all of the rights set out in the Convention.

"Our Bill will take a maximalist approach. We will incorporate the rights set out UNCRC in full and directly in every case possible - using the language of the Convention. Our only limitation will be the limit of the powers of this Parliament – limits to which many of us obviously object.

"This approach will mean that the Convention on the Rights of the Child is enshrined directly into Scots law. This represents a huge step forward for the protection of child rights in Scotland.

"Every devolved body, every health board, every council and the Scottish Government itself will be legally obliged to make sure they respect children's rights. And, if they don't, children and young people will be able to use the courts to enforce their rights. I hope the example of Scotland incorporating the convention will spur the UK and other countries to follow suit."

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