United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Published 21/03/2023.  Last updated 15/05/2024
sourceKnowledge and research categorySchool Improvement categoryInclusion Wellbeing and Equality

About the UNCRC in education

All educators in Scotland are committed to upholding and promoting the rights of learners in a range of settings – this is supported by professional standards and the proposed incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots Law. If passed, the Bill will ensure that children’s rights are respected and protected in the law in Scotland, and, public authorities will be legally required to respect and protect children’s rights in all the work that they do.

The Scottish Government remains committed to the incorporation of UNCRC and is working closely with Westminster Government to finalise an amended Bill. Read more: UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill - United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child implementation: introductory guidance

In addition to the UNCRC treaty, the Scottish Government is looking to incorporate a further four human rights treaties as part of their wider Human Rights Bill, including measures which will improve equality and human rights on an environmental, social, economic and cultural scale. It is worth noting that all human rights treaties apply to children as well as the UNCRC. Read more about these conventions: New Human Rights Bill.

Protecting children’s rights

The UNCRC describes what every child, from birth to 18-years-old, needs to survive, grow and thrive in order to live with dignity and achieve their potential. Protecting children’s rights is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s agenda, in order that every child feels empowered to be active citizens in their early learning and childcare setting, school, local community and across the world.

Things to know about the UNCRC and children’s rights in Scotland

  • Every child has the same rights, whatever their ethnicity, gender, religion, language, abilities or any other status
  • Children do not need to earn their rights and the rights do not come with responsibilities
  • The UNCRC says that governments have to make sure all children can enjoy all their rights
  • People in authority should think about children’s rights when making decisions that affect them
  • The UNCRC says the best interests of the child should be a primary consideration in all decisions and actions that affect children
  • The UNCRC recognises the important role played by parents, carers and family members in ensuring children grow up healthy, happy and safe
  • All children should have a right to express their views in matters affecting them and for their views to be taken into account
  • Scotland has a Children and Young People’s Commissioner whose job it is to protect and promote children’s rights in Scotland
  • There will be support for children and their representatives to raise concerns if their rights are not being respected

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Published 21/03/2023.  Last updated 15/05/2024
sourceKnowledge and research categorySchool Improvement categoryInclusion Wellbeing and Equality

About the UNCRC in education

All educators in Scotland are committed to upholding and promoting the rights of learners in a range of settings – this is supported by professional standards and the proposed incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots Law. If passed, the Bill will ensure that children’s rights are respected and protected in the law in Scotland, and, public authorities will be legally required to respect and protect children’s rights in all the work that they do.

The Scottish Government remains committed to the incorporation of UNCRC and is working closely with Westminster Government to finalise an amended Bill. Read more: UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill - United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child implementation: introductory guidance

In addition to the UNCRC treaty, the Scottish Government is looking to incorporate a further four human rights treaties as part of their wider Human Rights Bill, including measures which will improve equality and human rights on an environmental, social, economic and cultural scale. It is worth noting that all human rights treaties apply to children as well as the UNCRC. Read more about these conventions: New Human Rights Bill.

Protecting children’s rights

The UNCRC describes what every child, from birth to 18-years-old, needs to survive, grow and thrive in order to live with dignity and achieve their potential. Protecting children’s rights is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s agenda, in order that every child feels empowered to be active citizens in their early learning and childcare setting, school, local community and across the world.

Things to know about the UNCRC and children’s rights in Scotland

  • Every child has the same rights, whatever their ethnicity, gender, religion, language, abilities or any other status
  • Children do not need to earn their rights and the rights do not come with responsibilities
  • The UNCRC says that governments have to make sure all children can enjoy all their rights
  • People in authority should think about children’s rights when making decisions that affect them
  • The UNCRC says the best interests of the child should be a primary consideration in all decisions and actions that affect children
  • The UNCRC recognises the important role played by parents, carers and family members in ensuring children grow up healthy, happy and safe
  • All children should have a right to express their views in matters affecting them and for their views to be taken into account
  • Scotland has a Children and Young People’s Commissioner whose job it is to protect and promote children’s rights in Scotland
  • There will be support for children and their representatives to raise concerns if their rights are not being respected