Scottish Government amends quarantine regulations for children after our office raises human rights concerns


Image reads: "Unaccompanied children travelling to visit a parent or carer in Scotland are now able to self-isolate with their families when they arrive."

The Scottish Government has amended regulations around unaccompanied children travelling to Scotland following human rights concerns raised by our office.

The changes, which came into force on Saturday 27 March, mean that unaccompanied children travelling to spend time with a parent or carer living in Scotland will now be able to self-isolate with family at home.

Before the regulations were amended, unaccompanied children travelling to Scotland from abroad were required to quarantine in hotels.

If they couldn’t have a parent or carer join them – perhaps because they couldn’t afford to – then it was suggested that they would have to be supervised by a social worker. But that would infringe on a number of their human rights, including rights to:

  • respect for private and family life,
  • liberty,
  • freedom of movement,
  • support when removed from the family environment.

Head of Advice and Investigations, Nick Hobbs said: 

“Our office contacted the Scottish Government concerned that unaccompanied children travelling to spend time with a parent or carer living in Scotland were being required to quarantine in hotels. If their parent or carer was unable to join them, for example because they couldn’t afford to do so, it was suggested that the child would have to be supervised by a social worker. This infringed on their rights to respect for private and family life, to liberty, freedom of movement, and to support when removed from the family environment. While it is legitimate for the Scottish Government to seek to protect rights to life and health by acting to restrict the opportunities for the virus to spread, restrictions on children must be necessary, proportionate, time limited and in their best interests.

We are pleased that the Government has listened to our concerns and acted swiftly to amend the regulations for these children so that they are able to self-isolate with family at home.” 


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