Human rights commissioner calls on MSPs to protect human rights for Scots
Politicians from all parties in Scotland are being urged to show their support for the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights ahead of a Holyrood debate.
The Scottish Human Rights Commission said the act and convention were the “legislative bedrock” for realising human rights in people’s everyday lives and needed to be protected.
In a briefing to MSPs, Alan Miller, Scottish Human Rights commissioner, said the proposed British bill of rights, which the UK government has put forward to circumvent European legislation, must be resisted as it would undermine the principle rule of law and set a “dangerous precedent.”
The Human Rights Act and European Convention benefit us in ways we do not always realise, said Miller.
“They have been used to challenge the unfair impact of the bedroom tax, uphold the principle of human dignity in care services and protect children from assault," he added
As proposals for a new “British bill of rights” continue to be mooted, the commission is clear – they must be resisted
“From protecting soldiers serving in battle to challenging prison conditions that have no place in a decent society, the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights provide a safety net for everyone.
“As proposals for a new “British bill of rights” continue to be mooted, the commission is clear – they must be resisted."
Any attempt to limit accountability for the exercise of power, as these proposals would do, would undermine the principle of the rule of law, go against the spirit of democratic renewal and set a dangerous precedent to other states, Miller said.
The commission also highlighted the importance of Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights (SNAP) as a “vital roadmap” for embedding protection for human rights, including a broader range of United Nations treaty obligations, into policy and practice across Scotland.
Added Miller: “Next month will mark the first anniversary of the launch of SNAP – the first ever action plan for human rights in the UK.
“Over 40 organisations from across Scottish public and civic life are now working together to take action to improve the reality of human rights in people’s lives and to build a stronger culture of human rights in Scotland.
“This is remarkable progress.”