“COVID-19 is a test for our societies, and we are all learning and adapting as we respond to the virus. Human dignity and rights need to be front and centre in that effort, not an afterthought”
Michele Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
These are unprecedented times, and all of us are dealing with very significant impacts on many of our basic human rights.
Human Rights Consortium Scotland Priorities
During this time, we have three strategic priorities:
- To do what we can to enable the particular human rights concerns of our members to be raised with policy makers.
- To enable our members to work together to defend human rights through providing information resources and facilitating collaboration between organisations.
- To be a strong collective civil society voice on human rights protection in Scotland during the coronavirus crisis.
The Consortium has:
- written to the Convenor of the Scottish Parliament Equalities and Human Rights Committee, Ruth Maguire MSP, to ask the Committee to begin an urgent inquiry into the equality and human rights impacts of the coronavirus crisis in Scotland. The Committee agreed to hold this inquiry, welcoming submissions that raise issues around the impact of the coronavirus on the protection of human rights.
- coordinated a joint submission to the Equalities and Human Rights Committee’s inquiry, setting out 34 urgent questions that the Committee should ask
- hosted member discussions – find out about upcoming discussions here
- Submitted a paper to the Westminster Joint Committee on Human Rights on key issues, including the need to end reductions in local authority duties
Briefings and reports from our members on coronavirus impacts:
Howard League Scotland:
- Letter to Cabinet Secretary, Humza Yousef MSP, on release of prisoners
- Joint call with Prison Reform Trust for early release of prisoners
- Prisoner house-holding – the latest threat from COVID-19
Health and Social Care Alliance (the ALLIANCE)
- Coronavirus and Social Care Support
- Briefing for MSPs on Holyrood emergency coronavirus legislation March 2020
- Briefing for MSPs on Legislative Consent Motion for UK emergency coronavirus legislation March 2020
- Mental health of disabled Scots hit hard
Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland:
Scottish Women’s Aid:
Together: Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights:
- Briefing for MSPs on emergency coronavirus legislation March 2020
- Information about Committee on Rights of the Child COVID-19 statement & Together collation of concerns
British Institute for Human Rights:
Scottish Refugee Council:
- Joint letter to the Prime Minister – Coronavirus; policy recommendations to protect people who are experiencing homelessness and insecure migration statuses
Other briefings/reports on coronavirus and human rights
- Joint international statement between NGOs on respecting human rights around surveillance during COVID19
- Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland: Briefing for MSPs on emergency coronavirus legislation March 2020
- Scottish Human Rights Commission: COVID-19 page including briefings and statements, and reference paper with international human rights guidance and principles related to coronavirus
- Letter from National Preventative Mechanism to Cabinet Secretary Humza Yousef MSP on COVID19 and prisons
- SPICE Spotlight: Coronavirus and Human Rights