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Action Plan on Children's Rights
One of UN's top children's rights representatives, Professor Lothar Krappmann, will join Scotland's Children's Minister, Adam Ingram, at St Mary's School in Leith, Edinburgh today to launch the Scottish Government's action plan on children's rights, 'Do the Right Thing'.
Professor Krappmann from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will oversee the launch of the plan which will take forward the Committee's recommendations, published in 2008, to improve children's rights in the UK.
The action plan will set out how the Scottish Government will build on a range of activity under way to improve children's rights in 21 areas of work during the next four years. These include:
- Improving the participation of children and young people in how their schools are organised and run
- Promoting positive parenting by working with local partners to implement the Early Years Framework, a joint framework published by the Scottish Government and Cosla last year to improve the life chances of Scotland's children
- Improving support for young carers and children with disabilities
- Continuing to improve outcomes for looked after children
Adam Ingram said:
"The Scottish Government is committed to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and supporting the rights of all children in Scotland. 'Do the Right Thing' sets out how we will work across government to take forward this agenda and build on the considerable work we are undertaking, for example through our Early Years Framework, Achieving our Potential - our framework for tackling poverty and Equally Well - our framework for addressing health inequalities.
"The plan's priority areas cover a wide range of issues of importance for children and young people and everyone who works with them or on their behalf - from promoting positive forms of parenting and providing better support for young carers to improving outcomes for looked after children, tackling child poverty and improving children's involvement in their schooling.
"This will ensure our children have the best start in life, are properly supported to reach their full potential and that they have the opportunity to lead happy, healthy lives in which they are well nurtured and cared for."
Professor Krappmann said:
"On behalf of the UN Committee, I will welcome the priorities set out in the plan which will build on the many ongoing activities being taken forward by the Scottish Government, in consultation with the organisations and people who work with children or on their behalf. I congratulate the Scottish Government on this plan, its recognition of the challenges which need to be met and its determination to address these.
"Children's rights in Scotland were considered within the comprehensive UK report from the UNCRC which makes it difficult to do justice to the positive, unique and particular achievements of any one country. Despite this, the work in Scotland was very visible, as was the commitment of the Scottish Government and its partners towards children's rights and their implementation."
Tam Baillie, Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People, welcomed the Scottish Government's action plan and said:
"This plan demonstrates the Scottish Government's commitment to ensuring that children's rights are considered and incorporated into law, policy and practice. It acknowledges that while progress has been made - for example on increasing the minimum age for prosecution to 12 - more needs to be done.
"We will be working closely with Scottish Government to ensure that substantive progress is made during the next few years on issues we have raised and recommendations we have made, for example those regarding children with disabilities and young people leaving care.
"I am enormously encouraged with the Scottish Government's proactive response to the UN Committee report and I hope that this action plan will deliver some real progress towards Scotland fully adopting the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child."
Alison Davies, Acting Chair of the board of the Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights, said:
"This is a landmark commitment to children's rights in Scotland, addressing some of the most acute problems children and young people face, especially the most vulnerable. It is also the first time since the UK ratified the Convention that any of the devolved administrations has stepped up to the challenge of creating and publishing a proactive plan.
"Leadership, resources and close collaboration with a wide range of partners will be needed to tackle the range of difficult issues the plan seeks to resolve. We congratulate the Scottish Government for clearly laying out their intentions with regard to fulfilling the human rights of children. There are many issues that need to be addressed by Scottish Government and local authorities to improve the lives of Scotland's children and we look forward to the implementation of this plan."
On October 3, 2008, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child issued a series of recommendations setting out where they believe the UK was falling short of fully implementing the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which applies to everyone under 18.
The Scottish Government has made clear its commitment to the UNCRC and has been responding positively to those recommendations, for example we have already announced our intention to raise the minimum age of prosecution from eight to 12; children and young people seeking asylum now have equal access to higher and further education in Scotland; and we have introduced legislation to end the remanding of under 16s in prison in Scotland.