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The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is one of the core international human rights treaties – a universally agreed set of minimum child rights standards which is the most widely ratified of all the international conventions, and with which States must comply.
The UNCRC sets out a holistic framework for the rights of all children. The different articles are interdependent – the mutually-reinforcing nature of children’s rights means that civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights all have equal status and are indivisible.
Governments are expected to do all they can to implement the UNCRC – to make sure all law, policy and decisions which impact on children from birth to 18 comply with their human rights.
The general measures of the Convention include measures which give legal effect to the UNCRC, as well as ‘non-legal measures’, or other processes that can be used to progress implementation of the Convention.
The UNCRC introduces the concept of a child’s ‘evolving capacities’ (Article 5), which states that direction and guidance, provided by parents or others with responsibility for the child, must take into account the capacities of the child to exercise rights on their own behalf.
It includes four general principles that are not only rights in themselves but underpin every other right in the Convention:
- For rights to be applied without discrimination (Article 2)
- For the best interests of the child to be a primary consideration (Article 3)
- The right to life, survival and development (Article 6)
- The right to express a view and have that view taken into account (Article 12).
The UNCRC also provides children with a series of individual rights, such as the:
- Right to a name and nationality
- Right to health
- Right to play and recreation
- Right to an adequate standard of living.
There are also additional rights for specific groups of children, such as:
- Disabled children
- Children who have been exploited or mistreated
- Refugee and migrant children
- Children in custody
- Children in care.
Children’s rights are inextricably linked with the rights of parents and carers, whose important role in children’s lives is recognised throughout.
Having played a key role in negotiating its 54 Articles, the UK Government ratified the UNCRC in 1991. The 18-member UN Committee on the Rights of the Child monitors the implementation of the Convention, and provides guidance to governments in the interpretation of the Articles of the Convention through the publication of General Comments.
In addition, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has produced a UNCRC implementation handbook which identifies specific implementation issues connected to each Article of the Convention.
To date, the UK Government has submitted five periodic reports to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, with the fifth periodic report due to be examined by the Committee in 2016. The most recent set of Concluding Observations from the Committee dates from 2008, with 124 recommendations for change and/or improvement.
In addition to the Articles of the Convention, there are three Optional Protocols to the UNCRC:
- Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict
- Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
- Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure (i.e. complaints mechanism to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child).
The UK Government has ratified the first two. A set of Concluding Observations to each has been published. The third Optional Protocol is still under consideration by the UK Government.
Have Your Say. Join Experience Panels and help the Scottish Government shape the new Scottish social security system.
The Scottish Government will become responsible for some of the benefits currently paid out by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
It wants to work with people who have recent experience of these benefits so that the Scottish Government can design a new social security system with – and for – the people of Scotland.
Return your form to:
Freepost SOCIAL SECURITY EXPERIENCE PANELS. (No stamp required)
If you need additional support to register, you can call on Freephone 0800 029 4974 and the operators will help you to complete it over the phone.
The Freephone line is open between the following times:
Monday – Friday: 0830 – 1800 and Saturday: 0900 – 1700
Phone line translation is available if required. British Sign Language (BSL) users can make contact via www.contactscotland-bsl.org. Text phone users can call using the 18001 prefix or SMS users on 07467 447375.
To join the Experience Panels, you will need to fill out the registration form with your details so that you can be contacted about taking part in future Experience Panels research.
The information that you provide will be used for research purposes, will be kept strictly confidential and will not be shared outwith the Scottish Government. More information is provided on the ‘Have your say’ invitation.
Registration closes on the 12 May 2017.
Source: Scottish Government
Up to 32,000 children in Scotland will bear the brunt of Westminster cuts to bereavement benefits.
MPs are set to debate changes to the Widowed Parent’s Allowance this Thursday , 2nd March, which will make bereaved single parent families, left struggling financially, face further hardship under Westminster Government plans to slash the Widowed Parent’s Allowance. Changes to the payments, currently made until dependent children leave full-time education, mean from April 6, parents could receive just 18 months’ support.
Over the next 10 years up to 32,000 children in Scotland, whom its predicted will lose a parent due to bereavement, will bear the brunt of Westminster cuts to bereavement benefits. Cuts which mean the average working single parent family will be £12,000 worse off than under the current scheme and over £30,000 for families with the youngest children. (Source: Childhood Bereavement Network )
OPFS has written to all Scottish MP’s (see letter here) and is calling on the Government to pause the introduction of the new Bereavement Support Payment scheme, bring forward the review to which it has committed, and work across parties in order to come up with a solution that mixes the best of the old and the new system, supports those with children for longer, and is fair to those children whose parents weren’t married. Email your MP about the cuts.
Members of the End Child Poverty (ECP) coalition in Scotland have welcomed the introduction of a new Bill aimed at eradicating the scandal of child poverty in Scotland.
The Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill, which will now be considered by MSPs, establishes ambitious new targets for the reduction and eradication of child poverty and places a duty on the Scottish Government to produce and report on delivery plans highlighting how those targets will be met. For the first time local authorities and health boards will also have a legal duty to report on the action they are taking to reduce child poverty.
Coalition members includeOPFS, Barnardo’s Scotland, the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, Children 1st, the Poverty Alliance and Children in Scotland.
Following a conversation with single parents and professionals around some of the issues families face when living in a rural community, it became evident access to shops, activities and resources were the main issues.
The STV Children’s Appeal has awarded the Centre £46,471 to help us address some of these issues.
We intend to support families’ especially single parent families with their transport issues, access to low cost provisions from supermarkets, access to clothing required for the added cost of the school day, family outings and access to resources which can aid physical and mental wellbeing, development and family relationships.
We have set up a space where families, especially single parent families can join us for a community meal once per week, volunteer for gardening where we will grow fresh vegetables and distribute them to individuals accessing the Hub.
Parents have access to a small bank of emergency items which could help families struggling to make their money last until their next payment and tackle the growing cost of the school day by having access to clothes which could be worn during dress up/down days at school.
We are training a centre based Heat Energy Advice and Income Maximization Officer, who will support families to maximize their disposable income, and we will be able to source further funding to allow us to aid the purchase of items which would reduce energy costs, such as heavy curtains, rugs and bedding.
Telephone 01324 711271 or email
68/70 Forgie Crescent