News In Focus
Children's rights proposals not enough: Baillie
26 September 2012
Scottish Government proposals to protect children do not give suffiicient legal protections in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People has claimed.
Ministers claimed their proposed bill would "embed the rights of children and young people across the public sector" in line with the Convention, along with duties on public bodies to focus on improving children's and young people's wellbeing.
However in his response to the consultation on the proposals, just closed, Tam Baillie said that while he was "generally encouraged by the direction of the bill", it contained no requirement for ministers to have "due regard" to the Convention, and as it had yet to be given direct effect in Scots law, it could not be effectively invoked in the courts.
He added that the Scottish and UK Governments should work towards full incorporation of the Convention, which was adopted by the UK in 1991.
The bill proposes to extend the Commissioner's own powers to undertake investigations on behalf of individual children and young people, but Mr Baillie said little detail had been provided regarding the model the Government had in mind, and called for more resources to extend his investigatory powers on behalf of children. Properly conceived and resourced, he said, this would be a "useful and important mechanism" for children and young people to resolve alleged violations of their Convention rights.