Children across Scotland are realising their capacity as human rights defenders.

Children as Human Rights Defenders is designed and delivered with children for children across Scotland. The programme explores children’s views on what rights they feel need to be defended in Scotland and what support is required from adults to ensure children can be both empowered and protected in their role as human rights defenders.

The time is right

2018 was both the 20th Anniversary of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the 70th Anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. To mark this occasion, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child chose ‘Children as Human Rights Defenders’ as the theme for its Day of General Discussion in September 2018. To prepare for this event, Members of Children’s Parliament worked with local, national and global networks of children to advocate for the realisation of their rights, their peers’ rights and the human rights of all.

What we’ll do

  • Two Members of Children’s Parliament participated in the international Children’s Advisory Team for Child Rights Connect, helping to design the UNCRC Day of General Discussion (DGD), September 2018.
  • Over 200 children across Scotland were introduced to their rights as outlined in the UNCRC. These workshops were designed and co-delivered by Members of Children’s Parliament supported by an adult staff team.
  • The evidence, collected through the children’s workshops, was represented through an art exhibition of five giant shields. These were exhibited internationally at the DGD; nationally at the Children’s Parliament National Sitting in November 2018 and a Scottish Parliament event in December 2018 and at a Cabinet meeting in March 2019.  They will next be seen locally at a stakeholder event in East Lothian in May 2019.
  • Children’s Parliament and CYPCS will exchange experiences and practice on children as human rights defenders through a ‘toolkit’ and a report outlining the project approach and impact.
  • The learning from the programme will be used to encourage Scottish Government and local authorities (led by East Lothian) to recognise and support the role of children as child rights defenders within policy and practice.


An archive of activity can be found on the project’s blog, here:

Working together for a shared vision

Children as Human Rights Defenders is a partnership between Children’s Parliament and the following strategic organisations:

  • Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland (CYPCS) and delivery partners
  • Together: Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights
  • Child Rights Connect and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
  • East Lothian Council and delivery partners
  • Recharge Youth Project, Tranent

A collaborative, participative approach ensures that the programme’s outcomes are embedded at local, national and international levels.