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A Children's Rights Approach

In Scotland, 16th July 2024 marked a significant step forward in the Nation’s journey to be the best place to grow up.  On this day the rights children have under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) were brought into Scots law.  Scotland is the first UK Nation to join a handful of European countries in incorporating these rights into their legal system.

What is the UNCRC

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is an international human rights treaty that sets out the rights every child has.


Children and young people have 42 rights under the UNCRC.  These 42 rights give children and young people what they need to grow up happily, healthily and safely.  They cover all aspects of a child’s life and set out the rights that all children everywhere are entitled to. The convention also describes how adults, services and governments must act and collaborate to ensure that all children can fully enjoy these rights.  These rights are:


  • Universal (they apply to everyone, regardless of who they are)

  • Inalienable (they cannot be taken from you or given away)

  • Indivisible (they are all equally important)

  • Interdependent (a breach one is likely to impact on others)

You can access the Convention here at the Unicef site.  Or if you want to understand more about UNCRC in a Scottish context visit Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland’s website.

Here at the Scottish Centre for Children with Motor Impairments (Craighalbert) where the children we work with experience combined communication, learning and health challenges we most often reflect on the following in our own practice, working with partners and in supporting the families we work with to engage with others:

Article 2

A children’s rights approach should be applied without discrimination

Article 13

Children have the right to express themselves

Article 28

Children have the right to an education

Article 3

Adults should think about children’s best interests when considering decisions that may affect them


Article 15

Children have the right to meet up with friends and join groups

Article 29

A child’s education should develop their interests and talents and their respect for other people and our environment

Article 6

Children have the right to live and grow up well

Article 23

If a child has a disability, they have the right to special care and education

Article 31

Every child has a right to play

Article 12

All children have the right to participate in any decision that effects them and have regard made to their views & wishes

Article 24

Children have the right to good quality health care and information about their health

Article 39

Children who experience abuse, neglect or exploitation have the right to physical and psychological support

Craighalbert's mission and vision in the context of UNCRC

Craighalbert is a rights respecting organisation. We support children and young people throughout Scotland who experience combined communication, learning and health challenges, usually of a complex nature.


At Craighalbert, we have embedded the principles of the UNCRC in all that we do. We create an inclusive environment where every child can exercise their rights fully. We work closely with children and families to navigate the challenges they face and to ensure that their rights are recognised and respected. We provide tailored support to ensure that these children are heard, valued, and given equal opportunities to thrive.


The incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into law in Scotland is a significant advancement and we strongly believe that the UNCRC provides a critical framework for protecting and promoting the rights of all children. However, we recognise that there are practical issues and concerns to consider around how these rights will be upheld in a consistent and equitable way across all organisations delivering public functions.  At Craighalbert, we are committed to addressing these challenges head-on. You can read our CEO, Bob Frasers Blog for more information here.

Learn More About the UNCRC

We encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with the rights outlined in the UNCRC. Here are some resources to help you get started:​​

Together, we can create a Scotland where every child is respected, included, and given the opportunities they deserve. Join us in supporting the incorporation of the UNCRC into law in Scotland and ensuring that every child's rights are realised.


UNCRC Summary

UNCRC Full Convention.JPG

Full Version of UNCRC Rights

UNCRC The Childrens Version.JPG

Children's version of UNCRC Rights

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