Young People

Your rights as a young person (under 18) – UNCRC

What is the UNCRC and how does it affect you? Here you can find some information and links to best understand your rights under the UNCRC.

In order for your rights to be recognised, respected and promoted – they have to be accessible and easy to understand. Rights, legislation and policy can be confusing to not only young people but the adults and care-givers responsible for your care. Parents, local and national governments and organisations which work with children and families can help children experience their rights. Gaining knowledge on your rights will mean you are more informed and better equipped to access your rights and stick up for the rights of others. There are some basics rights that we are all entitled to, by law, such as –

  • You should not be treated differently because of your gender, religion, race, sexuality, disability, or for any other reason.
  • When adults or professionals/local authorities make decisions that affect you, they must always think first about what is best for you.
  • You have the right to say what you think about any decision that affects you, and what you say must be listened to carefully.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) has been embedded in Scots law. The articles set out the rights of young people under the age of 18. The UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill will make it unlawful for public authorities to act incompatibly with the incorporated UNCRC requirements, giving children, young people and their representatives the power to go to court to enforce their rights.

The Bill:

  • directly incorporates the UNCRC as far as possible within the powers of the Scottish Parliament
  • makes it unlawful for public authorities to act incompatibly with the incorporated UNCRC requirements
  • gives power to the Children’s Commissioner to take legal action in relation to children’s rights
  • requires Ministers to produce a Children’s Rights Scheme setting out how they comply with children’s rights and to report annually
  • requires listed public authorities to report every three years on how they comply with children’s rights

The Bill also allows for incorporation of the articles of the UNCRC currently beyond the powers of the Scottish Parliament, should these powers change in the future.

The UNCRC is made up of articles these articles explain your rights in more detail there are 54 articles in total and 42 of these apply directly to children and young people the rest apply to the government and people involved in your life and help your rights be understood better by adults. There is a child friendly version of the bill which is linked below. Here is a breakdown of some of the articles and what right they represent -

Article 1  

Everyone under 18 has these rights.  

Article 3  

All adults should do what is best for you. When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children.  

Article 4  

The government has a responsibility to make sure your rights are protected. They must help your family to protect your rights and create an environment where you can grow and reach your potential.  

Article 5  

Your family or carers have the responsibility to help you learn to exercise your rights, and to ensure that your rights are protected.  

Article 8  

You have the right to an identity – an official record of who you are. No one should take this away from you.  

Article 16  

You have the right to privacy.  

Article 25  

If you live in care or in other situations away from home, you have the right to have these living arrangements looked at regularly to see if they are the most appropriate.  

Article 42  

You have the right to know your rights! Adults should know about these rights and help you learn about them, too.  

Articles 43 to 54  

These articles explain how governments and international organizations like UNICEF will work to ensure children are protected with their rights. These are only some of the rights – to read more on the UNCRC bill and what that means for you, you can access them on the link below.

If you want to learn more about your rights you can chat to some adults in your life and visit the websites below.

Child friendly version of the UNCRC bill which can be found here.

Here you can get support to access your rights, learn more about them and more.

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