Last month (March 2021), Amnesty International in Scotland wrote to the First Minister, asking her Government to commission a public inquiry into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on equalities and human rights. The Consortium was proud to join over 20 organisations in signing the letter and supporting Amnesty International’s call.
Amnesty has since received a response to their letter, from Colin McKnight of the Scottish Government’s Directorate for Mental Health and Social Care. Mr McKnight, writing on behalf of the First Minister, recognised the importance of a public inquiry but re-iterated that the Government’s current priority is still responding to the pandemic. However, he did promise to pass on the contents of the letter to the Lord Advocate, who will make the final decision on how the inquiry is structured and what questions it will address.
We hope that the letter will encourage the Lord Advocate to take a human rights-based approach to the inquiry, and ask questions which address the needs of the most vulnerable in our society, whose rights have been most at risk as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.