A group of Scottish civil society organisations, including the Consortium, has written to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to address their concerns that the consultation on the Scottish Human Rights Incorporation Bill has been delayed.
The Scottish Government first made the commitment to introduce the Bill, which could bring major international human rights home to Scotland and make them real for everyone who lives here, in March 2021. A consultation on the Bill was then expected to be announced in Spring 2022. However, the Scottish Government’s plan is now to publish the consultation sometime in 2023; a delay which the group of civil society organisations has called “regrettable.”
The letter expresses the group’s support for the Bill, and recognition that incorporating international human rights treaties into Scots law is a complicated process. However, it is now more important than ever that the Scottish Government gives its progressive new Bill all the resources it needs to succeed. The letter highlights regressive laws coming from the UK Government, the climate crisis and the cost-of-living crisis as key factors which should be driving the Scottish Government to develop the Bill.
Specifically, the group has asked for increased capacity for the Human Rights Bill team to develop the Bill and consultation, and for every division within the Scottish Government to have a nominated person who is responsible for contributing to the development and delivery of this Bill. In order for human rights to be properly embedded in decision-making at every level, it must belong to more than one division of the Government.
The letter ends by echoing the group’s unwavering commitment to the purpose of the new Human Rights Bill, to make human rights a reality for individuals and communities in every part of Scotland. It was signed by the following:
Naomi McAuliffe, Amnesty International
Pete Ritchie, Nourish Scotland
Andy Sirel, JustRight Scotland
Charlie McMillan, Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities
Cat Murphy, Engender
Juliet Harris, Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights)
Danny Boyle, BEMIS
Clare MacGillivray, Making Rights Real
Sara Redmond, Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE)
Suzanne Swinton, Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance
Tim Hopkins, Equality Network
Scottish Environment LINK – Governance Group
Moira Tasker, Inclusion Scotland
Alison Watson, Shelter Scotland
Shivali Fifield, Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland
Mhairi Snowden, Human Rights Consortium Scotland