Diluting Commissioner’s Role will bring Worldwide Criticism
Friday 30 January 2009
CHILDREN 1ST has spoken out against proposals by the Scottish Parliament's Corporate Body that the relatively-new post of Children's Commissioner be merged with the Human's Rights Commission. We feel that:
- It is essential that children and young people have someone whose role is solely to represent their voices to those making decisions which affect them.
- Children and young people's perceptions and views are not always the same as adults, and the impact of policies on them can be different.
- Having someone who is there specifically for them makes it easier for children and young people to express their views.
- Children and young people have additional rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and it is important that awareness of these are raised so that they can be fully implemented.
- A Commissioner for Children and Young People is essential in a country whose Government is committed to fully implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- The Scottish Children and Young People's Commissioner office, which was set up in 2003, has not had enough time to properly establish itself.
Anne Houston, chief executive of CHILDREN 1ST, said: "We believe that the reasons for the establishment of the Commissioner's role still exist - that the unique needs and interests of children and young people, combined with their relative powerlessness, mean that they should have a separate and distinct voice in public life."
"In addition we, as adults, will also miss out by being less aware of the powerful and constructive views and ideas of children and young people. These should always inform planning and decision-making alongside those of adults - they have much to offer."
"The establishment of the Commissioner's office was strongly welcomed by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, and to lose it would make Scotland out of step with the rest of Europe and the wider world."
"To reduce the Commissioner's role is very likely to bring criticism from other human rights bodies in Scotland and throughout the world."
Last updated: Saturday 11 April 2009