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Minister stands by Scottish human rights record

20 April 2017

Cabinet Equalities Secretary Angela Constance has defended the Scottish Goverment's human rights record, as ministers published a statement ahead of the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review of the UK on 4 May.

She also complained at the UK Government refusing to allow Scottish ministers to attend the UN review.

In its own evidence submission, the Scottish Human Rights Commission has called on the Scottish Government and Parliament to prove their commitment to universal human rights by incorporating all UN human rights treaties by strengthening their enforceability in law – with 24 recommendations for further action (click here for report).

However Ms Constance said the Government had taken action to progress human rights and and build a "fairer, more equal and inclusive Scotland".

She commented: “The actions we are taking to ensure human rights are respected and protected reflect a national vision – shared by Government, civil society partners and the Scottish people – of a country where everyone is able to live with dignity.

“However, the direction the UK Government has been taking is fundamentally incompatible with that view. While UK Ministers have called into question protections under the European Convention on Human Rights and European Law, we are working to ensure everyone in Scottish society can enjoy their rights in full.”

She cited work to tackle poverty and commit to eradicating child poverty, the strategy to prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls, the commitment to put dignity, respect and human rights at the heart of the exercise of new social security powers, work to deliver on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, action to address inequalities based on gender and race, and investing to raise educational attainment for disadvantaged children as instances of this commitment.

Responding to the statement, Judith Robertson, chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission welcomed the commitment to respond positively to any recommendations from the UN review, adding:

“We want to see more progress where it really counts – in the reality of people’s day to day lives across Scotland. Too many people are being let down on key human rights issues such as housing, food and social care.

“The UK and Scotland have signed up to many international human rights laws. The UK and Scottish Parliaments and Governments should now ensure these obligations are incorporated into national law and policies. This would make them enforceable and better able to be realised in people’s everyday lives.”

Click here to access the Scottish Government's statement.

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