Research, reports and articles on strengthening human rights law

Key policy reports

First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership

In response to concern about human rights protections in the midst of Brexit, the First Minister set up an expert Advisory Group.  This Advisory Group was chaired by Prof Alan Miller.  It was asked to make recommendations on 3 principles:

  • non-regression from the rights guaranteed by membership of the EU;
  • keeping pace with future rights developments within the EU;
  • continuing to demonstrate leadership in human rights.

The Advisory Group was to consider if and how to incorporate rights from UN treaties into Scottish law and governance.

In December 2018, this FM Advisory Group published its recommendations. You can find the whole report here.

In summary, the recommendations were:

  1. An Act of the Scottish Parliament which provides human rights leadership – this Bill wouldn’t be introduced until after Parliament elections in 2021. It would: repeat rights in the Human Rights Act, and would include economic, social and cultural rights, the right to a healthy environment and protections for the rights of specific groups.
  2. A public participatory process to be developed as a vital part of preparation of the Act and its implementation.
  3. Capacity-building to enable effective implementation of the Act
  4. A Scottish Government National Mechanism for Monitoring, Reporting and Implementation of Human Rights
  5. Development of human rights-based indicators for Scotland’s National Performance Framework (NPF).
  6. Process for Implementation of Recommendations 1-5
  7. Integration of any further devolved powers into the framework as proposed in Recommendation 1 and, if independence, a written constitution including a Bill of Rights for Scotland.


First Minister’s National Advisory Council of Women and Girls

The National Advisory Council on Women and Girls advises the First Minister on what’s needed to tackle gender inequality in Scotland. There are 16 members of the Council from a variety of jobs, roles and backgrounds.

In 2018, the Council recommended the incorporation of the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) into Scots law.  The First Minister accepted this recommendation, stating that ‘The Taskforce will be asked to consider the incorporation of CEDAW as part of this broader incorporation of rights agenda.’

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