The Scottish Government’s consultation on incorporating the UNCRC into Scots domestic law closed on 28 August 2019.

The consultation paper can be read here.

The Scottish Home Education Forum response can be read here.

Two of our forum representatives accepted an invitation to meet with members of the government team to discuss the consultation paper and share our views on proposed incorporation. We had presumed it was just another token gesture to tick the ‘seldom heard’ stakeholders box, especially given the patronising tenor of social media comments from the right-on brigade (all paid handsomely to promote the government’s GIRFEC policy that is anything but respectful of children’s rights). We were therefore pleasantly surprised by the productive discussion that took place. 

This was not an easy consultation for lay people to respond to as it covered some complex legal and constitutional issues, so it’s just as well we are well-informed about the UNCRC, in particular how it is actively undermined by state-funded GIRFEC  cheerleaders who, somewhat bizarrely, like to present themselves as ‘Unfearties’.

Fortunately, the Scottish Home Ed Forum has a long history (since 1999) of supporting children’s rights in education, and our co-ordinator was a co-founder of Action on Rights for Children (ARCH) in 2001, which went on to produce influential reports and lead high-profile campaigns, helping to see off some of the worst rights-trashing state-sponsored atrocities of recent times, including the ContactPoint database.

We are in favour of direct UNCRC incorporation as it is frankly too dangerous to allow incompetent Holyrood legislators to interpret the Articles of the Convention and its equally important preamble to suit the authoritarian agenda that has already seen children in Scotland stripped of their fundamental rights, most especially their right to privacy.

Since the children’s commissioner will only assist some children in exercising some rights (if they have been accorded special ‘approved’ status), and the so-called children’s rights alliance ‘Together’ excludes those who won’t play pick-and-mix with the UNCRC, we are fairly sure our response will be filed under I for Inconvenient. But at least we have put our unconditional children’s rights supporting position on public record.

The creation of a dedicated children’s rights tribunal (not colonised by any of the same suspects who failed to spot, or didn’t care about, the fatal flaws in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014) is the only satisfactory way we can think of to bypass state-appointed gatekeepers and ensure that all children and their advocates have equal access to justice.

However, there is little or no chance of any of our suggestions being taken up by a regime that wilfully conflates self-defined rights with state-dictated wellbeing outcomes and has so far failed to heed the damning 2016 judgment by the UK Supreme Court.

This consultation will probably prove to be yet another virtue-signalling waste of time and money for all but the GIRFEC fan base that is paid to sing along to the SHANARRI song and ride roughshod over rights.  It would be good, just for once, to be proved wrong, but we’re not holding our breath.