Minutes of the meeting of the 27th July

Below are the minutes of the meeting which took place on the 27th of July at 10am in the STUC building on Woodlands Road, Glasgow. We provide these so that anyone who could not make it can keep up with what took place.

12/1 People

Present: Tressa Burke – Glasgow Disability Alliance

Carole Ewart – Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland
Sofi Taylor – ONCN
Juliet Harris – Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights)
Pat Elsmie – Migrant Rights Scotland
Jatin Haria – CRER
Alan Stewart – volunteer
Sarah Smith – Thompsons Solicitors


Emma Ritch  Close the Gap
David Denton – Individual
Angela O’Hagan – Scottish Women’s Budget Group
Susan Archibald – Archibald Foundation
Bob Thompson – Scottish Left Review Magazine
Peter Taylor – Community Development Alliance Scotland
Prof. Jim Murdoch
Aidan Collins – SAMH
Shabnum Mustapha – Amnesty International Scotland
Margaret Dekker – Scotland’s Campaign Against Irresponsible Driving

In attendance:

Trevor Owen, Scottish Government
Jemma Neville, SHRC

12/2 Minutes of Meeting 13th March 2012

It was agreed to approve the Minutes at the next meeting as copies were currently unavailable.

12/3 Report of Steering Group Meeting

a) A number of new members had been approved.  This now means we have over 50 members.  The process had identified a problem as a firm of solicitors had applied for membership and that was not covered by the Constitution.  It was agreed to investigate options but in the meantime solicitors could join as individuals and we would be happy to acknowledge the support of the Company.

b) It was acknowledged that the HRCS work at the UN on the UPR process had been funded by GDA, Migrnat’s Rights Scotland, CRER and personal donations from Pat Elmslie and Carole Ewart.  This was appreciated.

c) A programme of meetings has been agreed until the end of the year and it was noted with thanks that Thompsons Solicitors have agreed to provide a buffet for the International Right to Know Day event on 10th December 2012.

d) Appreciation for the work of volunteer Alan Stewart was recoded for the briefing on the UPR process and for his work on the new website.

e) GDA have included a page about the HRCS on its website http://www.gdaonline.co.uk/humanrights.php

f) It was agreed to find out from BIHR what meetings had taken place around the UPR process as NGOs in Scotland do not appear to have been included.  It was agreed to write to UK and Scottish civil servants and suggest a meeting with Ministers so that civil society views on UPR draft report can be delivered.

g) It was agreed to be part of the BIHR network on human rights.

12/4 Presentation from Together – Juliet Harris

Update on UPR process from Trevor Owen, Scottish Government

a) The presentation from Juliet on past activity and current tactics was  noted.

b) Also noted was update from Scottish Government.   It was noted with dissapoiuntment that the scheduled meeting for 20th July had been canceeld in favour of individual meetings with NGOs and whilst that was appreciated it was agreed that the dynamic created by a meeting with a range of groups would have been very useful.

c) It was agreed that co-ordinated action by NGOs on UPR will bring benefits across issues, across sectors and across jurisdictions eg with Northern Ireland and England.

d) It was agreed that organisations should submit their priorities on the recommendations from the UPR draft report as soon as possible to Trevor Owen at the Scottish Government.

e) It was agreed to assess the viability of the HRCS being invoilved in the UPR meeting in Geneva 19-21 September.

12/5 Freedom of Information (Amnedment) Scotland Bill
Carole Ewart gave an update on behalf of the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland.

a) It was noted that the public’s right to know would be damaged by the Government’s failure to bring a range of other organisations within the scope of an enforecemable right to freedom of information.  Currently there are no proposals to include eg Arms length organisations and housing associations within the Bill.

b) It was agreed that HRCS members should be encouraged to monitor progress on the Bill via the Scottish Parliament website http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/52148.asp and that of the Campaign http://www.cfoi.org.uk/scotland.html

12/6 Dates for other meetings in 2012

  • Monday 27th August 5-7pm, STUC: Practical tips on raising a human rights case in Scotland – Professor Tony Kelly, solicitor advocate
  • Thursday 27th September 2-4pm ‘The Public’s Right to Know’ Dave Moxham STUC and Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland
  • Thursday 25th October 5 -7 pm, STUC: ‘Public procurement reform and delivering Human Rights in Scotland’
  • Monday 10th December 1-4.30pm, STUC: ‘Celebrating International Human Rights Day’
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