Scotland’s right to protect our children is under threat from the Tories at Westminster. Sounds unbelievable?
Yes, it does, and all the more shocking that it is true.
On March 16th 2021 the Scottish Parliament approved the bill to enshrine the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots Law. This international convention is based on the notion that children have clear rights as human beings. It requires governments to enshrine four basic principles in law, namely:
Governments must respect children’s rights “irrespective of the child's parents or legal guardian, race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, poverty, disability, birth or other status.”
- Best interests of the child
Government’s must adhere to the principle that “In all actions concerning children…… the best interest of the child shall be a primary consideration."
- The right to survival and development
Government’s must “ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child."
- The views of the child
Government’s must ensure “the view of the child (is) given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.”
However, the UK government have indicated in a letter to the Deputy First Minister on 24th March that “our concern is that…. the bill would affect the UK Parliament in its power to make laws for Scotland”. The UK government is threatening to take their case to the Supreme Court.
In plain language, the UK government wants to retain the power to make laws for Scotland that may not comply with the rights of the child.
I can think on no better example of where the values of Scotland so dramatically diverge from the attitude of the UK Government. Scotland has made its choice to value all children, to protect all children and the UK government is now challenging our right to do so.
It is also an example of where Scotland wants to be outward looking, and set the best of ethical standards for our future. Isn’t the future of Scotland deserving of the best?