Holyrood scrutiny of Human Rights under the spotlight

21.01.2018

How the Scottish Parliament ensures Human Rights are respected in Scotland is to be the subject of a new committee inquiry.

The Equalities and Human Rights Committee has launched a call for views and hopes to hear from as many people in Scotland as possible. In particular, it is seeking to hear from human rights experts as well as those with lived experience of fighting for their rights.

The inquiry comes 18 months after human rights were added to the remit of the Committee. The Committee gave an early commitment to consider how human rights should be addressed by the Committee and the wider Parliament and has already undertaken research into other Parliaments’ approaches.

The inquiry will focus on a number of issues:

  • How the Parliament can raise awareness of domestic and international rights amongst the public?
  • What can be done to ensure human rights are considered when making & implementing policy?
  • What more could the Scottish Parliament do to ensure that international treaties are being followed in Scotland?

Committee Convener, Christina McKelvie MSP, said:

“Respecting human rights is an important step to ensure that Governments take account of everyone in society, particularly the most vulnerable.

“The Parliament needs to get better at considering human rights implications when it looks at legislation.

“We want this inquiry to be the beginning of a meaningful change in culture which will place respecting human rights at the heart of everything we do here.

“It is therefore vital that we hear from those who have experienced human rights injustices as well as those with human rights knowledge and expertise.

“If you have anything you want to the committee to know, get in touch. Find a way that suits you on our website.”

In addition to receiving written and formal oral evidence, the Committee will carry out five workshops around Scotland, and is taking views on social media, too.

The closing date for providing your views is 6.00 pm on Friday 16 March 2018.

Background

Webpages on the Committee Inquiry can be accessed here.

Human rights include ‘economic, social and cultural’ rights, for example, the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to adequate food, housing, sanitation and water, the right to education, and rights at work.

The inquiry will examine the Scottish Parliament’s role in the protection and promotion of human rights, concentrating on three broad themes:

Participation and engagement

  • Can the Scottish Parliament empower people to make them more aware of their rights under domestic and international human rights law and to build a strong human rights culture in Scotland?

Parliamentary procedure and process

  • Are there further steps the Scottish Parliament could take to ensure that people’s human rights are being taken into consideration when the Scottish Government and public authorities are creating policies?

Accountability

  • Could the Scottish Parliament do more to ensure that international human rights laws, for example, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and other international human rights obligations are being followed in Scotland?

How to engage with us?
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This policy is available and as an MP3 audio file at this link.

You can send us your views by—
Emailing us at: equalities.humanrights@parliament.scot

You can write to us at: Equalities and Human Rights Committee
Room T3.40
Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh EH99 1SP

You can find us on Twitter: @SP_EHRiC

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