A Review by the Human Rights Consortium Scotland has found that there is strong and growing interest in engaging with human rights across the Scottish third sector. Organisations are keen to build their confidence and use of human rights throughout their work, and more support, networks, resources, and accessible training would help them to do so.
The Review also found several barriers to organisations using human rights. There is often a lack of time and resources to develop organisations’ understanding. Human rights language and law is seen as inaccessible. There is a shared concern that human rights can be seen as too confrontational in discussions with decision-makers – more needs to be done to help public authorities to understand human rights and to take a human rights-based approach to decisions.
There also needs to be increased independent funding for civil society, and recognition from funders of the value of civil society raising human rights challenges to those in power.
The findings of the capacity review will help to inform development of the infrastructure support that Scottish civil society needs in order to further engage with human rights at this important time. It also has important messages for funders and Government around what they need to do to see civil society play their full role in better human rights protection in Scotland.
About the Review
The review is based on evidence collated and analysed by Kate Nevens and Ellie Hutchinson of the collective from June-November 2021.
Through an online survey, interviews and a participatory workshop, civil society organisations were asked about their existing involvement in human rights, and the various ways in which they use human rights in their work. They were also asked about what barriers prevent them from using human rights more, and what organisations such as the Consortium could do to support them to overcome these barriers and use human rights effectively.