The First Minister announced the Scottish Government’s legislative and policy plans for the coming year in the Programme for Government 2018. As part of this programme, the Government made the much-welcomed announcement that they plan to incorporate the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law. They said:
‘In the Year of Young People, we have the opportunity to underline our commitment to future generations. We have the chance to fundamentally change the way in which we deal with the rights of young people. That is why this Programme for Government commits us to incorporating the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law. We will need to work with partners across public services and wider civic society to ensure that we do so in a way that promotes those rights most effectively, but now is the time to commit to that work.’
The Government also said ‘As part of that work, we will consider where it may be possible for Scots law to go further than the UNCRC requires, where that is demonstrably beneficial for children and young people.’
Initially civil society groups were disappointed at the apparent downgrading of the Good Food Nation Bill in the programme. However, Fergus Ewing, Rural Economy Secretary reaffirmed the Government’s ‘clear commitment to bring forward legislation in this session of parliament’, whilst also emphasising that legislation was ‘not the only answer’ and that they need to consult widely first.
Some of the other key aspects relating to human rights include a new National Performance Framework outcome of ‘We respect, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from discrimination’. New criteria on the Living Wage and gender-equal pay have been added to business support grants, and the Government has committed to ‘making provision for an advice and support service including on the new settled status scheme and meeting the settled status fees for EU citizens working in our devolved public services.’
You can read the full Programme for Government here.