Together frequently publishes briefings on specific child rights issues in order to inform MSPs, Scottish Government and our members and support them in taking a child rights-based approach.  

Nationality and Borders Bill

Article 22 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is clear that asylum-seeking and refugee children have the same rights as those children born in Scotland, as well as the right to special protection and help.

The Nationality and Borders Bill represents the most severe assault on refugee rights in decades. The Bill treats children just as harshly as it does adults, including children who arrive as part of a family, children arriving alone and children who have been trafficked and exploited in Scotland. In doing so, it goes against the spirit of the UNCRC, is likely to breach a range of children’s rights and encroaches significantly into devolved areas of law and policy to the detriment of Scotland’s ability to protect children and uphold their rights. 

Together with Aberlour, Just Right Scotland and the Scottish Refugee Council, we produced a joint briefing for MSPs debating whether to withhold consent for the Bill.

Coronavirus - COVID-19

COVID-19 poses an unprecedented challenge for Scotland, the UK and the wider world.  While UK and Scottish Government must take emergency steps to protect the right to life and right to health, emergency powers invariably impacts a wider range of rights. It is essential that UK and Scottish Government continue to fulfil their obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), other human rights treaties and domestic law in their efforts to mitigate the crisis.

Together produced a briefing for MSPs debating the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill. This focused on the children's human rights implications of the Scottish and UK Government response to COVID-19, urging both to take a children's human rights-based approach to the crisis

Children's rights and parenting

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) defines the context in which parenting takes place. It promotes parenting that is respectful of the child's best interests and considerate of the needs of parents.

It states that a child is entitled to care, security and an upbringing that is respectful of their rights and individuality. The UNCRC outlines the role of anyone responsible for caring for a child in guaranteeing and promoting the rights of the child and ensuring that their best interests are always taken into account.

It also outlines how parents should fulfil their responsibilities and is clear that the state should provide parents with the necessary level of support they need to fulfil their role.  

Incorporating the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots law

Incorporating the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law, would mean children’s human rights will be binding on all levels of government. This announcement has been welcomed across Together’s membership who recognise the impact incorporation will have on children, young people and their families across Scotland.

In May 2019, the Scottish Government launched a consultation to look at how a new Act could take forward this commitment to incorporate the UNCRC into Scots law. To help our members respond to this consultation, Together wrote a briefing which does the following:

  • Unpicks and explains some of the questions in the consultation paper
  • Demonstrates how the draft Children’s Rights (Scotland) Bill aligns with the Scottish Government’s proposal and supports the First Minister’s ambition
  • Highlights learning from countries that have already incorporated the UNCRC, including Norway, Finland, Belgium, Sweden and Spain
  • Explores developments closer to home that have prepared the way for incorporation – including the 2011 Welsh Measure and the Children and Young People Scotland Act 2014.

Access the briefing here.

Together has also produced two briefings to support members planning engagement work with children and young people around the consultation. The guides bring together suggestions from our members and divides these into key themes related to incorporation. Each theme contains ideas for related activities and questions.