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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Save our human rights plea to Lords

This news post is about 6 years old

The Human Rights Consortium Scotland and Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations have asked the House of Lords to protect the rights of citizens

Lawmakers have been urged to ensure that the human rights of Scots are not diminished by Brexit.

With fears that the process of leaving the European Union could fail to protect existing rights, the Human Rights Consortium Scotland and Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) have turned to the House of Lords.

Peers are due to begin voting on the EU Withdrawal Bill today (Thursday), and the organisations have urged for positive action to be taken.

The bill includes controversial plans to scrap the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and a letter sent to the Lords details the concerns of the consortium and SCVO.

The UK Government claims abolishing the charter will not lead to a reduction in the legal rights of British citizens, however human rights organisations and legal practitioners have said that this assertion is not true.

“More than 150 civil society signatories of the Scotland Declaration on Human Rights agree that our rights must not be watered down,” said Mhairi Snowden, coordinator of the Human Rights Consortium Scotland.

“We are very concerned however, that the EU Withdrawal Bill does just that. Rather than simply transferring EU law into UK law, it takes the extraordinary step of leaving out a key plank of legal rights. We urge peers to listen to the voice of many across civil society in Scotland and amend the bill to protect our rights.”

John Downie, director of public affairs at SCVO, said: “Since the vote to leave the EU was announced, Scotland’s third sector has been concerned that current, hard-won rights and protections could be lost.

“Through the Scotland Declaration on Human Rights, civil society organisations have articulated what they expect from EU withdrawal and suggested the best way forward in protecting the rights we all enjoy. We hope that peers will heed the words of third sector organisations and make the necessary amendments to the legislation to secure our rights.”

The Civil Society Brexit Project – a partnership between the Human Rights Consortium Scotland and SULNE (Scottish Universities Legal Network on Europe) – has published new comprehensive guides for third sector groups on the impact of Brexit on different types of rights.

Maria Fletcher, director of SULNE and senior lecturer of European Law at Glasgow University, said: “We can all feel a bit baffled by Brexit because the process is very fast and complex. That’s why the Civil Society Brexit Project has published a range of new briefings to make sure that organisations have the information that they need to understand the process and the potential implications of Brexit.”