Launch of Right Here, Right Now campaign to incorporate the UNCRC

Categories: Awareness-raising and Incorporation

29th October 2017

The Scottish Youth Parliament's (SYP) campaign on young people's rights, Right Here, Right Now - which launched on Friday 27th October - is calling on the nation's policy makers for full incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law.

Following a consultation with more than 5,000 young people across the nation, Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) voted at the June 2017 Sitting in West Dunbartonshire to focus all their efforts on the rights of young people in Scotland.

A key objective of this youth-led campaign is ensuring that the rights of children and young people are fully protected, which can only be achieved through incorporation of the UNCRC into Scots law. MSYPs agree that Scotland is on its way to being the best place in the world to grow up, and with the Year of Young People on the horizon, there's never been a better time to ensure that UNCRC rights are binding, not guiding, decision-makers in Scotland. Incorporation won't just ensure UNCRC rights can be argued in court - it will ensure the early protection of UNCRC rights in policy-making, preventing rights abuses in the long run.

Right Here, Right Now will also focus on ensuring that Scotland's young people are aware of and understand their own rights, and are empowered to take action to defend their own rights and those of others.

Work has already begun on defending the rights of Scotland's young people ahead of the campaign's launch. In particular, SYP is calling for a ban on the use of 'anti-loitering' devices, or 'mosquito' devices as they are commonly known, in public spaces across Scotland which target under-25s indiscriminately.

Campaign themes

The campaign has three main themes: Advocacy, Action, and Awareness.

Advocacy: This is the overarching campaign theme, aiming to influence law, policy, and practice in order to strengthen the protection of young people's rights.

Action: Focusing on Article 12 of the UNCRC, this theme will seek to strengthen and enhance the status of MSYPs at a local level and within national voluntary organisations, and improve the links SYP has with other institutions, such as the Scottish Parliament.

Awareness: Promoting young people's rights to young people and those responsible for upholding these rights, and empowering individuals to defend their own rights and the rights of others.

As SYP recognises that the UNCRC only relates to young people under the age of 18, and the charity represents young people up to the age of 25, this campaign will look at rights mechanisms wider than just the UNCRC, to ensure this older age group is recognised.

Campaign objectives

There are four main objectives which Right Here, Right Now plans to achieve by the end of the campaign:

  • To influence law, policy, and practice in order to strengthen the protection of young people's rights.
  • To improve links between SYP, public bodies, and national institutions, such as the Scottish Parliament, to respect, protect, and promote young people's rights.
  • To promote young people's rights, and empower individuals to defend their own rights and those of others.
  • To strengthen and enhance the status of MSYPs as the voice of Scotland's young people at a local level, and to strengthen the role of voluntary organisation MSYPs nationally.

Commentary

After consulting with more than 5,000 young people from across Scotland, it was clear that the issue of rights is one which is at the forefront of young people's minds," explained Amy Lee Fraioli, the Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament.

"This is particularly the case in the wake of Brexit, which has left many young people feeling uncertain about the future," she added.

"As the democratically elected voice of 12-25-year-olds in Scotland, it is vital that we stand up and fight to defend these rights."

Trustee and Right Here, Right Now lead, Thomas McEachan MSYP, said: "Right Here, Right Now is a campaign which will touch upon almost every issue that affects young people in Scotland today.

"If our rights were to become fully enshrined in Scots law, we could strengthen the protection of our right to quality education, our right to healthcare, our right to a safe home, and more."

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