How can academia and civil society work in partnership to create a new model of UNCRC implementation? There is no better time to harness the momentum of the children's human rights movement, to develop innovative partnerships and methods of working to answer this question.
Two developments make this an ideal time for the seminar series. In 2016, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child reviewed the UK's progress in implementing the UNCRC and made a series of recommendations (known as Concluding Observations) in June 2016. These recommendations outline what more needs to be done in legislation, policy and practice to ensure the rights of all children are upheld across the UK. Their publication coincides with the commencement of UNCRC-related duties on Ministers and public bodies through the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (CYP Act), and a new Scottish Parliament.
Since the Committee last made recommendations in 2008, there have been many positive developments in UNCRC implementation across Scotland. However, both academic research and civil society reports show that children's lived experiences of their rights remains patchy. Many of the Committee's recommendations remain outstanding, including issues around UNCRC incorporation, professional training, the minimum age of criminal responsibility and giving children equal protection from violence.
Four one-day interdisciplinary and cross-sector seminars will seek to improve the implementation and monitoring of the UNCRC through the development of partnerships between universities, NGOs, child law specialists and children and young people. Seminars will examine UNCRC implementation from law, practice and policy perspectives to address cutting edge questions that need academic-civil society partnerships. They will include and embed children and young people's lived experiences of their rights. The series will culminate with a final action-focussed seminar on new methods of UNCRC monitoring and implementation. Seminars will also capture international academic experience of UNCRC implementation to inform practice and ensure Scotland asserts itself as part of the children's human rights narrative on the global stage.