Opportunities for Human Rights in Scotland
Towards the end of 2018, two major reports were published that should set the direction for the promotion, delivery and enforcement of human rights in Scotland over the next decade. 40 recommendations were made in ‘Human Rights and the Scottish Parliament’ published by the Equalities and Human Rights Committee and seven in ‘Recommendations for a new human rights framework to improve people’s lives’, published by the First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership.
The conclusions from both reports mean the current attitude of ‘business as usual’ on compliance with human rights law is no longer tenable. Something has to happen although both reports realise that building knowledge and capacity are the key, first steps to enabling informed and progressive change.
How duty bearers and rights holders respond across Scotland will determine the nature and pace of reform. Both share an interest in ensuring that human rights now explicitly inform the design, delivery and funding of public services and services of a public nature.
So what are the key points? Too many for this Blog but:
- The Equalities and Human Rights Committee proposes that the ‘Scottish Parliament should be an international leader in human rights and adopt procedures that ensure best practice becomes standard practice’. Read the full report at https://sp-bpr-en-prod-cdnep.azureedge.net/published/EHRiC/2018/11/26/Getting-Rights-Right–Human-Rights-and-the-Scottish-Parliament-3/EHRiCS052018R6Rev.pdf
- The First Minister’s Advisory Group Report proposes ‘Capacity-building’ for ‘effective implementation’ to enable leadership locally and nationally. Read the full report at http://humanrightsleadership.scot/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/First-Ministers-Advisory-Group-on-Human-Rights-Leadership-Final-report-for-publication.pdf
As we go forward, rather than staying still or reversing what progress has been made on human rights, let’s hope in 2019 we can each see signs that human rights are more visible for those who use and work in services funded by the public purse.