CHILDREN and young people in Scotland will go to the polls early in more ways than one, as they vote this November in a Scotland-wide ballot.
Begins a spokesperson: “Tens of thousands will be asked to cast their votes and choose the top issues they’d like the policy makers and the Children’s Commissioner to take action on.
“More than 50,000 children and young people are expected to vote online at www.arightblether.co.uk/vote.html and in voting centres at hundreds of schools, youth centres and care units across Scotland.
“The ballot coincides with the 21st anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and follows a national consultation by Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner, Tam Baillie.
“The Commissioner spent the last six months travelling the country to promote children’s rights and listen to the views, experiences and ideas of children and young people.
“The list of issues they’ll vote on was selected by children and young people themselves, through partnership work with Scottish Youth Parliament and the Children’s Parliament.
“Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament became the first young people to vote in ‘A Right Blether’ and have pledged their support to encourage young people to take part.
“The count will take place during December and the results announced in January and then discussed at a major event in February 2011 – the Right Big Blether – where key policy makers will come together with children and young people.
“This event will determine the priorities that children and young people in Scotland feel should be actioned by the Commissioner and by other decision makers.
“The results will also be fed back to children and young people across Scotland through GLOW sessions, school communications and online networks.”
The vote: how it works
- Voting centres at schools and youth organisations across Scotland have registered to take part and there will be voting booths at BBC studios and in the Scottish Parliament
- Children and young people can vote online and in voting centres
- The vote opens officially opens 01 November and closes on 30 November 2010
Tam Baillie, Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, said:
“This vote is a chance for children and young people to tell me what things in their own life – or the lives of other children and young people – need to be made better.
“Their priorities will shape the work of my office over the next few years and help me to fulfil my aspiration to make Scotland a country where they can understand, exercise and enjoy their rights every single day of their lives.
“It’s a great way to mark the 21st anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a convention that is not an abstract concept but a useful tool to help achieve lasting change such as ending the detention of child asylum seekers in the UK and new, national guidance on how to move and handle children with disabilities – which came directly from young people themselves.”
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Notes for editors
- The Commissioner’s remit is to promote and safeguard the rights of children and young people, with particular emphasis on the rights set out in the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. He also monitors the law, policy and practice for effectiveness in relation to the rights of children and young people and promotes best practice by service providers working with children
- The vote is open to all children and young people under 18, but up to the age of 21 if they have ever been looked after or in care. They can vote online at www.arightblether.co.uk/vote in English or Gaelic.
- The 12 issues were selected through the national consultation, the Children’s Parliament and by young people working on the Scottish Youth Parliament’s manifesto. See www.arightblether.co.uk/vote for the list of issues.
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Contact: Giselle Dye