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Published, 20 June 2016


The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

A new UN report says there's major room for improvement around children's rights in the UK.

Leading charities including Action for Children, Barnardo’s, The Children’s Society and Unicef UK agree that our children often bear the brunt of spending cuts and their rights aren't properly considered in decision making processes. The Concluding Observations from a report by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child also pinpoints high levels of poverty in Scotland as a major concern.

Over 150 recommendations are included and the Scottish and UK governments are encouraged to take them forward as a matter of priority. Although Scotland has made real progress, the report claims that far more needs to be done to address the gaps in children's rights protections.

Which areas are in need of improvement?

Despite the voting age in Scotland being extended to 16 and 17 year olds for local and Scottish Parliament elections, there are still concerns that children's views aren't being heard in policy-making, on issues that affect them.

Areas requiring more attention include children with disabilities, who aren't being involved enough in making personal decisions about their life, and the rise in the number of children with mental health needs. The high cost of childcare was also identified as having a negative impact on children and their family environment.  

The Committee also highlighted several longer term issues that Scotland has yet to tackle including

  • equal protection from violence for children 
  • increasing the minimum age of criminal responsibility 
  • challenging the discrimination faced by Gypsy/Travellers' children

Read the full report to get the full picture. 

How do we measure up?

You might be interested to see how countries rank in terms of their commitment to children's rights. The results might surprise you!

Further resources

Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People (SCCYP) and Scottish Government produced a brilliant Children's Rights resource for young people last autumn. It's available to view online or you can also request hard copies direct from SCCYP.



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