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Children's rights
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Children in Scotland acts upon the belief that children and young people are important and valuable in the here and now (not just for their potential contributions as adults). Accordingly, we take a rights-based approach to children's policy.

The UK ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) years ago. The Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament also have made clear their agreement with the UNCRC and their intention to fully abide by it. However, the support for the UNCRC in principle is not always matched in practice by public agencies and institutions across Scotland. Much has been accomplished, but more remains to be done.

To read the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child in it's entirety (54 Articles), click here. There is also a useful guide to the UNCRC available from UNICEF at:

We find that three UNCRC Articles are most often cited in child policy work in Scotland. They are:
Article 2: all UNCRC rights apply to all children without discrimination
Article 3: the best interests of children must be a primary consideration
Article 12: children's views must be taken into account in decision-making

After years of advocacy by Children in Scotland and allied organisations, a law was passed to create a Scottish Commisioner for Children and Young People. It is the role of the Commisioner to pay close attention to the actual implementation of the UNCRC across Scotland. In April 2004, Kathleen Marshall was appointed as the first Commisioner. In 2009 Tam Baillie became the second Commissioner. More information about Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People can be found at:

In 2008 the four Children's Commisioners within the UK issued a joint report to the United Nations on the record of goverment in meeting its UNCRC obligations. This report can be found at:


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Contact details
for this section:

Jonathan Sher
Director of Policy, Research and Programmes

0131 222 2418

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