Established in 1996, Children’s Parliament is dedicated to the realisation of children’s human rights in Scotland. Our dream is that children grow up in a world of love, happiness and understanding. Our mission is to inspire greater awareness and understanding of the power of children’s human rights and to support implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
Children chose the name of our organisation, but they did not picture Children’s Parliament as an elected body, rather as a space to talk and listen.
We provide children up to 14 years of age with opportunities to share their views, experience, and ideas so that they can influence positive change in their lives at home, in school and in the community. We use creative, participatory and play-based methods to support children to meaningfully engage in decisions that affect them. We work closely with adults so that they understand their responsibilities and duties and can play their part in making change happen.
We demonstrate children’s rights in action, we support children to influence policy, practice and legislation, and we build the capacity and win the hearts and minds of adults to realise children’s rights.
We work with children through their early years and middle childhood up to the age of 14. We use approaches that are appropriate for children of that age – creative, fun and play-based.
While the UNCRC talks about children up to the age of 18, we believe it is important there is a focus on the early and middle years as a distinct period of childhood (different from adolescence and being an older teenager). We encourage partner organisations, including government, to pay attention to the lived experience of children and to give this as much of a focus and priority as is given to adolescence and teenage years.
Children get involved by participating in one of our projects. This usually involves learning about children’s human rights and can then move on to exploring or investigating a theme or topic. Children usually become involved through their school or a community organisation working with us.
Children’s Parliament is not a traditional parliament with elections. It is an inclusive space for every child who gets involved.
With our approach, we are able to work with a body of children right across Scotland which is broadly representative of the population. This includes children with different abilities, different home experiences, from different communities.
Experienced Members of Children’s Parliament (MCPs) have opportunities to become Children’s Human Rights Defenders (see below) and represent the views of MCPs generally in a variety of ways.
We are always looking to connect with schools, community organisations and local authorities who might want to involve children with us. Get in touch
MCP is an abbreviation of Member of Children’s Parliament. When children engage in one of our projects , they become MCPs.
Everyone has rights as members of the human family. The Charter of the United Nations recognises human rights as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Human rights belong to everyone, equally.
Human rights are laid down in international human rights ‘instruments’ (agreements between nations) such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, amongst others.
A special focus is given to children’s human rights, in recognition of the particular needs and entitlements we have during childhood. This extra focus on children’s human rights is laid down in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and is why we use the phrase ‘children’s human rights’.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is the most complete statement of children’s rights ever produced and is the most widely ratified (agreed) international human rights treaty in history.
Rights articulated in the UNCRC and other human rights instruments are minimum standards, commonly described as the “floor not the ceiling”, so once we achieve the minimum we shouldn’t stop there.