HRCS welcomes BIG step forward for human rights in Scotland!

A Government-led Taskforce has recommended that, as soon as possible, four UN treaties should, for the first time, be incorporated into Scots law. These include many of our everyday rights, such as the right to food, to housing, to education and to health.  The new human rights Bill will also include specific rights for women, for disabled people and on race.

Incorporating our international human rights directly into Scots law has long been campaigned for by many organisations across Scotland. It is one of the most important steps that a country can take to build a human rights culture and empower individuals to claim their rights in reality.

Mhairi Snowden, Director of the Consortium said:

“We strongly welcome this timely, world-leading and positive step to strengthen human rights law in Scotland. Incorporating all of our human rights into our law will be a vital step towards making them a reality for everyone. 

Together with the UNCRC children’s rights Bill due to pass next week, Scotland is on a progressive human rights journey.  This is something that we can all celebrate and welcome, especially in light of our experience of COVID-19 where rights have been so clearly infringed.

This is also in stark contrast to human rights law reviews at UK level that threaten to water down government accountability on human rights.  We need more human rights law protections, not less.”

Read the full report from the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership here.

Many Consortium member organisations were involved in informing the Taskforce. In addition, many organisations and over 400 people took part in All Our Rights In Law

The project brought together over 430 people for over 35 community conversations to talk about a new human rights law for Scotland.

Thank you to everybody who took part!

Across all conversations, people welcomed the idea of putting all of our human rights into Scots law. This was seen as a positive step.

However, across almost every conversation, people also spoke about their significant concern that this new law needs to be fully put into practice. People felt strongly that ensuring real improvements to their rights requires more than simply passing a new law.

People said that, to make these rights reality:

  1. People need to know and understand their rights
  2. The new law needs to have teeth
  3. Systemic change on human rights should not rely on individuals
  4. In-depth advice should be available when you have a rights problem
  5. Independent advocacy services should be available to all
  6. We need a human rights culture across public authorities
  7. Adequate resourcing is needed
  8. Voices of marginalised people should guide public decision-making
  9. Mechanisms for public accountability should be built in
  10. Incorporation of specific rights for women, disabled people and on race
  11. Action needed to address economic, social and cultural rights, and right to a healthy environment
  12. Action needed to protect rights of particular groups
  13. Learning should be applied from experience of rights during COVID-19

Read the full All Our Rights In Law report here.

Read a one page summary here.

Read the Easy Read version here.