Everybody has rights, no matter who you are, where you are from, what language you speak or what age you are.
If you’re under the age of 18, there is also a human rights law just for you. It’s an international human rights treaty that almost every country in the world is signed up to – it’s called the UNCRC.
WHAT DOES UNCRC STAND FOR?
United Nations convention on the rights of the child
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, or the UNCRC for short is made up of 54 different articles (or things). The words in the UNCRC ‘articles’ are important because they are promises from adults to children.
Some of the rights in the UNCRC include:
Your right to have your say, be listened to and taken seriously when decisions are made that affect you (Article 12)
Your right to education (Article 28)
Your right to relax and play (Article 31)
These rights and the rest of the rights outlined in the UNCRC are so important. They are there to help make sure children and young people grow up healthy and safe and that their views are taken into consideration in decisions that affect them.
WATCH THIS REACH FILM
You can find out how you can be supported, included, listened to and involved in decisions at school on our Rights in Schools page.
Rights in real life
THE UNCRC in SCOTLAND
In 2021 decision makers in the Scottish parliament voted to put children’s rights into Scots law. This is called ‘UNCRC Incorporation’. Incorporation means including something. By including the UNCRC in our law, it would mean that we can make sure organisations and decision makers keep the promises to children that are in the UNCRC.
With UNCRC Incorporation, children and young people would also have more power to take action if their rights aren’t respected.
Scotland’s road to UNCRC – what is happening?
Following a court challenge by the UK Government, UNCRC Incorporation in Scotland has been paused.
The UK Supreme Court judged that the UNCRC Incorporation Bill that was voted through in 2021 went beyond the powers of the Scottish Parliament.
The next step is that the Scottish Parliament needs to make changes to the UNCRC Incorporation Bill.
When changes have been made and agreed, the Bill will be sent for ‘Royal Assent’ (this is when the King formally agrees to make a bill the law). Until then, the UNCRC cannot be included in Scots law.
Once the bill is amended and Royal Assent is given, the UNCRC will be automatically incorporated into Scots Law six months later.
Want to know more?
These organisations have lots of information about children’s rights in Scotland and how you and your school can get involved.
The UNICEF Right Respecting Schools Award puts children’s rights at the heart of schools in the UK. You can find out more on their website.
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