Making Children’s Human Rights Real: #CabinetTakeover2021

Scottish Cabinet Meeting with Children and Young People
Online, 16th March 2021

Key Messages from Children’s Parliament

What we did

To get ready for this year’s Cabinet Meeting, we discussed issues and calls to action from over 12,000 responses from children in Scotland in 2020. We picked ten issues we felt were most important and worked with other Members of Children’s Parliament to come up with ideas to tackle these issues. We put these ideas to a national vote! Over 2,600 children took part, telling us which ideas they felt will #MakeRightsReal for Scotland’s children today and in the future.

From all this work, we picked the three key issues, and ideas, to take to our meeting with Scottish Cabinet in 2021:

  • Anti-Racist Education
  • Trees for All
  • Involving Children in National Decision-Making

It’s important that children go to Cabinet so that we can influence how Scotland works and make Scotland a better place.

Member of Children’s Parliament, age 11

Anti-Racist Education

Children have the right to non-discrimination, and to education which develops respect for differences, and challenges all aspects of discrimination and prejudice (Articles 2 and 29)

Racism hurts children and adults, and it happens too much today.

Member of Children’s Parliament, age 10

Racism is not just a problem experienced by a few people, but one that affects many parts of Scottish society.

What needs to change

We want the Scottish Cabinet to:
Make sure all children in Scotland get an anti-racist education. This isn’t just about what we learn.
We want:

  • Support for children who have experienced racism.
  • Anti-racist education to be shaped by experts, including Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) children and teachers.
  • To know how to report racism and what will happen if we report it.
  • To learn about racism, the impact of racism and how to challenge it.
  • To learn about the achievements and experiences of BAME people today and from the past.
  • To have more BAME teachers and school staff.
  • School staff to be trained in delivering anti-racist education.

We should teach younger kids about racism so when they’re older they can help stop racism.

Member of Children’s Parliament, age 10

If you learn about this early on, it will stick with you for the rest of your life.

Member of Children’s Parliament, age 12
Trees for All

Children have the right to life, survival, health and a clean, safe environment (Articles 6, 24 and 27)

We have technology we can use against climate change – the name of the technology is a tree!

Member of Children’s Parliament, age 11

A very long time ago, Scotland was covered in woodlands – much, much more than today. Although humans take up a lot of space, trees are a natural solution to the climate emergency, and we need more of them in Scotland. This means planting trees, but also helping trees to spread and grow themselves.

What needs to change

We want the Scottish Cabinet to:

  • Protect and look after spaces where trees are spreading and growing naturally already.
  • Plant more trees in places they would naturally grow and to make sure different types of trees are growing together.
  • Make sure all tree guards are biodegradable.
  • Give everyone in Scotland a tree and help them plant it themselves, or with the help of somebody else. 

Children need to live in environments that are safe and clean. Trees can help with that.

Member of Children’s Parliament, age 10
Involving Children in National Decision-Making

Children have the right to be listened to and taken seriously (Article 12)

2021 is the Year of Childhood and the year children’s human rights will become law in Scotland. This is an important part of making children’s rights real. Scotland does lots of brilliant things to involve children in decisions about their lives, and we want these things to continue.

What needs to happen

  • The annual meeting between children, young people and the Scottish Cabinet.
  • We want to stay involved in conversations about how we make rights real in Scotland after the UNCRC becomes a law.
  • We want to be involved in helping with reports from Scottish Ministers on what they are doing about children’s rights.

What needs to change

  • We want clear and child-friendly feedback after taking part in meetings, events and consultations.
  • Not all of us want to get written feedback. We would like to get a video from an adult that explains what has happened and why.
  • We want to know what has happened becauseof our participation and not just what was happening anyway.

Everyone should be heard and kids also have a creative side so you may get some new ideas.

Member of Children’s Parliament, age 12

Each year, the children work with Children’s Parliament to create a document of their ideas and experiences. The children then share this document with Cabinet and talk about the themes that they have identified. Click the image on the right to view their Key Messages to Cabinet 2021 Poster

This is the 5th Scottish Cabinet Meeting with Children and Young People. To find out more about what happened in previous meetings, visit the links below:


Date: 2021
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