A UNITED Nations committee has urged the Scottish Government to hurry up the process of fixing a children's rights bill blocked by Westminster

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill was passed unanimously in 2021, before being found by the UK Supreme Court to legislate outwith the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

The bill, which can be amended and brought back to the Scottish Parliament, would incorporate the UN treaty into Scots law.

In a report published on Friday, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child published a report focusing on children’s rights in the UK, and it urged Scottish ministers to bring the legislation back to Holyrood.

While praising its introduction and initial passage, the report recommended the Scottish Government “expeditiously bring forward the amendments necessary to enact the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill in Scotland”.

The bill has been a running sore for the Scottish Government, with former Scottish children and young people’s commissioner Bruce Adamson repeatedly questioning why it had remained in parliamentary limbo two years on.

The Scottish Government said in February last year civil servants were redrafting the legislation

READ MORE: UNCRC Bill to come back to Holyrood after Supreme Court defeat

Speaking earlier this month – before he departed the post – Adamson said he was “hugely concerned”, while Nick Hobbs, the acting commissioner, said: “Governments are accountable for their actions and the process of reporting to the UN provides essential scrutiny.

“The concluding observations are a powerful reminder to the Scottish and UK governments that there is a long way to go to uphold children’s rights here.

“It’s vital that they step up and keep the promises they have made to children under the UNCRC.

“The committee has quite rightly called out the unacceptable delay to incorporating the UNCRC into Scots law.

“The Scottish Government must respond by returning the bill to the Scottish Parliament before the summer recess. Enough time has been wasted.”

The committee heard evidence at its Geneva base from young Scots, including Daisy Stewart Henderson, a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament.

She said: “I felt that the committee’s questions to the Government truly echoed what we as children and young people had told them mattered to us.

“I implore the Government to commit to addressing all the committee’s recommendations and providing a clear action plan which is accessible to children in order to be held to account.

“In doing so they have the ability to create a better country for all young people to grow up in.”

But despite the criticisms, the report praised Scotland’s ban on smacking children, which was spearheaded by former Green MSP John Finnie during his time at Holyrood.

Meanwhile, discussing the UK Government’s block on gender reforms in Scotland that would make it easier for transgender people to obtain a gender recognition certificate, the committee urged the whole of the UK to “recognise the right to identity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children, and put in place measures to ensure that all adolescents enjoy their freedom of expression and respect for their physical and psychological integrity, gender identity and emerging autonomy”.

READ MORE: Scottish children's rights bill goes beyond Holyrood competence, court rules

The UK Government also came in for criticism over its Illegal Migration Bill, with the committee saying it is “deeply concerned” about it.

The committee called on ministers to “urgently amend” the legislation “to repeal all draft provisions that would have the effect of violating children’s rights under the convention and the 1951 Refugee Convention, and bring the bill in line with the state party’s obligations under international human rights law to ensure children’s right to nationality, to seek asylum and to have their best interests taken as a primary consideration, as well as to prevent their prolonged detention and removal”.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "We thank the committee for their work on this review and will consider its recommendations carefully.

"We remain absolutely committed to Scotland being the first UK nation to incorporate the UNCRC into domestic law, ensuring we are a country that respects, protects and fulfils children's rights.

"Work to achieve this is well underway, including engagement with UK Government lawyers to try to reduce the risk of another referral to the Supreme Court on a revised bill, which could cause further delays.

"Legal issues around the bill are complex and consideration of these issues has taken longer than hoped. It is however important to get the bill right for children now and for generations of children to come.

"Tackling poverty and protecting people from harm is one of the top priorities for this Government.

"We recognise the challenges many people are facing, which is why we have allocated almost £3 billion over this year and last year to support policies which tackle poverty and protect people as far as possible during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

"While the key policy levers needed to address poverty still lie with the UK Government, we continue to urge them to do more to support and protect families through the cost-of-living crisis."