A coalition of Scottish civil society organisations has written to the Minister for Equalities and Older People, Christina McKelvie MSP, with a number of requests surrounding Scotland’s new Human Rights Bill. The Bill would incorporate 4 major human rights treaties into Scots law, along with additional protections for the environment and older people. The Scottish Government first committed to the Bill in 2021, but we have not yet received a timetable for its implementation.
Together with 15 other civil society organisations, we have expressed our support for the Bill, but have asked the Minister not to leave implementation to the last minute. We want the Bill to bring significant improvements in rights protection and realisation in Scotland, so planning for this needs to begin now. Implementation involves much more than narrow compliance with the new law; it should drive a new human rights culture, and shift power in decision-making.
Specifically, we are calling for an implementation action plan to be published in 2023.
We urge the Scottish Government not to kick this Bill into the long grass, but to engage with civil society to create a Bill which will actually protect and promote human rights in Scotland, and change lives.
The letter was signed by the following individuals:
- Naomi McAuliffe, Amnesty International
- Pete Ritchie, Nourish Scotland
- Emma Hutton, 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
- Leo Starrs-Cunningham, Inclusion Scotland
- Alison Watson, Shelter Scotland
- Shivali Fifield, Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland
- Mhairi Snowden, Human Rights Consortium Scotland