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UK's human rights protections under threat, UN told

This news post is 12 months old

The claims come ahead of the Human Rights Council Review of the UK later this year.

The Scottish Human Rights Commission has warned that human rights protections are at risk in Britain as it submitted a comprehensive report to the United Nations (UN). 

The new evidence, sent to the UN ahead of its Human Rights Council Review of the UK, set to take place in November, claims the UK Government’s proposals to replace the Human Right Act put existing legal protections at risk. 

The “report card” to the UN’s latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of human rights in the UK reiterates the strong opposition to UK Government plans to reduce existing human rights protections by creating a new Bill of Rights. 

The commission notes that the UK Government is disregarding its own Independent Human Rights Act Review as well as opposition from the Scottish Parliament, Scottish Government, civil society groups, and Westminster’s Joint Committee on Human Rights.

The report highlights widespread support in Scotland for stronger human rights laws and recommends the Scottish Government proceed with legislation to incorporate a wider range of human rights treaties into domestic law.

The report also examines how rights are being protected in practice across Scotland and draws attention to concerns in multiple areas, including mental health, poverty and prison conditions across the country. 

Other concerns set out in the report include health inequalities, rights affected by social care, and environmental rights, as well as hate crime, human trafficking and access to justice.

The Commission will now share its findings and recommendations with representatives of UN member states in advance of a meeting in Geneva in September, which will then inform the UN Human Rights Council’s final review in November.

Dr Anna Black, GP and a commissioner at the Scottish Human Rights Commission, said: “Our latest comprehensive review heard from a wide range of people living and working in communities across Scotland. 

“Their evidence, and our own research, makes clear that Scotland still has some way to go before we can confidently claim that human rights are a reality in everyone’s lives.

“Our recommendations to the Scottish Government would help to close this implementation gap in a number of key areas and we urge the Scottish Government to act on the issues we have highlighted.

“We remain extremely concerned about the risks to legal protection for people’s rights in Scotland if the UK Government moves ahead with its proposals to replace the Human Rights Act with a watered-down Bill of Rights.”



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