A core principle of the UNCRC is a commitment to ensuring children and young people have the opportunity to be involved in the decisions that affect them. This is reflected in the Act establishing the post of Commissioner as it requires the Commissioner to consult with children and young people on the issues that he should be working on and to involve them in that work.
The Commissioner’s views on children’s and young people’s participation
I was appointed Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People in May 2009 and my vision is that Scotland will one day be a place where all children and young people: understand their rights; experience their rights; and exercise their rights.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) protects the human rights that all children and young people everywhere in the world have, no matter who they are, where they live or what they believe in. Adults have a responsibility to ensure the rights of all children and young people are upheld. It is my responsibility as Commissioner to promote and safeguard these rights for children and young people in Scotland.
A core principle of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is a commitment to giving children and young people the opportunity to participate in the decisions that affect them, and to be active agents in their own lives. This is reflected in the Act establishing the post of Commissioner; it requires me to consult with children and young people on the issues that I should be working on, and to involve them in my work.
Participation is about more than taking part. It is about listening, sharing experiences and learning from each other. If we want our children to take an active part in society, we must value their voice and hear their views. At the beginning of my appointment as Commissioner for Children and Young People, I made a commitment that my policy priorities would be informed by the views of children and young people, and would be directed by the protection of their rights as they are laid out within the UNCRC. In 2010, 74,059 children and young people voted in a RIGHT blether, my office’s national consultation. The outcome of the vote directed me in the areas my office would work until 2016.
Participation is an ongoing dialogue with children and young people; it is not just about a one off consultation event, or formal decision making processes. It should be an interactive conversation that continues throughout the life of the child, from birth onwards.
I hope all adults will guarantee to ensure children and young people enjoy their rights, so they can live in a country where their rights are understood, respected and fulfilled.
Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People