MSPs debate human rights in Scotland

On Tuesday 19th September, MSPs debated a whole range of issues relating to human rights in Scotland.  Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, again confirmed the Scottish Government’s opposition to any repeal of the Human Rights Act or withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights.  She also stated:

‘We will work to prevent existing and future human rights protections, including the European charter of fundamental rights, from being eroded by the impact of Brexit.’

Other issues raised included: the rights of specific groups such as gypsy travellers, children and disabled people; the rights of those in immigration detention and the treatment received by asylum seekers; giving prisoners the right to vote; amongst many others.

The final motion that was agreed to was:

That the Parliament is committed to creating a fairer Scotland underpinned by respecting and implementing human rights; notes the achievements that Scotland has already made in giving practical effect to the human rights set out in UN and Council of Europe treaties, and International Labour Organization conventions; welcomes the appointment of the former Scottish Human Rights Commissioner, Professor Alan Miller, as chair of a new expert group that will provide independent advice and recommendations on how Scotland can continue to protect and enhance human rights, including economic, social, cultural and environmental rights; further welcomes the commitment that the Scottish Government will undertake a comprehensive audit of the most effective way to further embed the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into policy and legislation; acknowledges that embedding a human rights-based approach within Scotland’s public services is fundamental to securing equality, dignity and rights and commends the rights-based approach to building a social security system that will be underpinned by dignity, respect and equality; resolves to ensure that the human rights and equality of all of the people of Scotland are fully respected and protected, promoted and implemented; considers that human rights should be viewed as a broad-based principle and should also encompass workers’ rights as well as the right to a family life, which should include the right to a decent warm home; believes that significant progress should be made in the current parliamentary session to improve the rights of disabled people in areas of education, employment and public transport; considers that this progress should be meaningful by ensuring that adequate and enforceable legislation is in place to advance these rights; notes the report of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) on its inquiry into violations of rights in the UK, which was issued on 6 October 2016, and its report on its concluding observations under its reporting cycle, which was issued on 29 August 2017; expresses grave concern that, in its October 2016 report, the UNCRPD found systematic violations of the rights of disabled people; acknowledges that one of only two positive findings in the August 2017 report concerned measures taken in Scotland; expresses concern at the absence of action and the dismissive attitude of the UK Government regarding the 85 recommendations made by the UNCRPD in August, and is resolved that dignity, equality, and human rights for all cannot be realised as long as disabled people continue to experience violations of their basic rights under the policies adopted by the UK Government.

 

You can read the official report here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11089&i=101194