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Published, 28 February 2020

First observatory of children’s human rights launched in Scotland

Scotland’s first national observatory of children’s rights launched in Edinburgh (28 February). The Observatory of Children’s Human Rights Scotland aims to bring together children and professionals with rights expertise from across Scotland to amplify the impact of research on policy debates, both nationally and internationally. It will work to improve the day-to-day lives and experiences of children and young people.

The Observatory was initiated by the University of Edinburgh and the University of Strathclyde, the Children’s Parliament, the Scottish Youth Parliament, the Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland, and Together, the Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights. It was formally launched by the Minister for Children and Young People, Maree Todd.

Alongside the launch of this new resource for Scotland, Together has published the latest State of Children’s Rights in Scotland report. This sets out the current status of children’s rights in Scotland and highlights the importance of delivering the Scottish Government’s pledge to incorporate the UNCRC into Scots law by 2021.

Speaking at the launch of the Observatory of Children’s Human Rights Scotland, CELCIS’ Executive Director Professor Jennifer Davidson, said:

“The launch of the Observatory marks an important step in ensuring that Scotland joins the small, yet growing number of nations around the world who are leading the way in children and young people’s human rights.

“The Observatory will be a dynamic and proactive hub through which children and young people’s experiences in Scotland are brought together with others’ and translated into action. With the support of academics, inter-disciplinary and cross-sector expertise, we believe that we can help to lead the way to accelerate progress in implementing children's human rights, to anticipate the gaps, and make real progress collectively on how we can all address these challenges together throughout Scotland. We’re keen that this hub ensures that young people themselves are also empowered to make the world a better place for themselves and others.”

Kay Tisdall, Professor of Childhood Policy MHSES University of Edinburgh, added:

“Perhaps the greatest opportunity afforded by the Scottish Government’s commitment to incorporate UNCRC is to allow children and young people from across Scotland to thrive. The aim is highly ambitious by anyone’s standards, but it is also a simple one.

“Working together with children, young people and organisations dedicated to their rights and wellbeing, we hope the Observatory will have a significant and positive impact on children’s human dignity, ensuring they are respected and supported to reach their full potential, because when our children and young people thrive, our communities and our society thrives too.”

Speaking ahead of the launch of the State of Children’s Rights report, Juliet Harris, Director of Together, the Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights, said:

“Our State of Children’s Rights report 2019 shows how much more needs to be done. From increasing concerns about child poverty and mental health through to food insecurity and bullying, many children still experience breaches of their rights on a day-to-day basis. Through the publication of our report, and partnering with the new Observatory, we hope our roadmap for action will support Scotland to realise its potential and become a country where the rights of all children are realised all of the time.”

As well as the full report, Together has also produced a child friendly version.

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celcis@strath.ac.uk

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