10th December each year is Human Rights Day, and this year on that day, the Scottish Parliament Equalities and Human Rights Committee held a Human Rights Takeover of the Parliament.
The day began with a session in the Chamber where a variety of human right defenders from across Scotland heard several speeches including those from Ryan McShane from the Scottish Youth Parliament and Hannah Richardson from the Children’s Parliament.
The afternoon included a variety of workshop sessions. A workshop coordinated by the Human Rights Consortium Scotland included a brilliant performance from the Purple Poncho Players from Glasgow Disability Alliance –you can watch their original unveiling of the Scotland Declaration on Human Rights in February 2017 here.
Scottish Women’s Aid, Just Right Scotland, the British Institute of Human Rights, Advocard and GDA also spoke about the importance of human rights to their work.
On 13th December, the Scottish Parliament then held a debate on human rights leadership, and passed this motion:
That the Parliament reaffirms its long-standing commitment to human rights and human dignity and to the principles of equality, democracy and the rule of law; notes with approval that 2018 is the 70th anniversary of the adoption by the UN of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; further notes similarly that Scotland has enjoyed 20 years of the vitally-important human rights safeguards that are contained in the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Scotland Act 1998; expresses its wish that all of Scotland should work in concert to promote and vindicate human rights for all, keeping pace with progressive international standards and demonstrating global leadership; notes the publication on Human Rights Day 2018 of the report and recommendations of the First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership; welcomes the report and recommendations of the Equalities and Human Rights Committee, which was published on 26 November 2018, following the human rights inquiry that it carried out and notes the balance of support within the committee for the report’s conclusions; agrees that the Scottish Government should now take action, in partnership with civil society, the Parliament and all parties, to ensure that Scotland continues to lead by example across the full spectrum of civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, and welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into law and its move to meet the minimum age of criminal responsibility specified by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, both of which are prerequisites in establishing Scotland as an international human rights leader.
You can read the Official Report of the debate here.
Image credit: Flickr, dun_deagh, CC BY-SA 2.0