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UN to investigate poverty in Scotland

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​Human rights group compiles UN dossier on how poverty blights lives in Scotland

A report into poverty in Scotland and the way it blights lives has been compiled for the United Nations (UN).

The world body has been alerted to various aspects of inequality in the country – including the impact of welfare reform and austerity measures on human rights.

In particular, the report focusses on how these affect women, disabled people, children and young people, pensioners on low incomes and ethnic minorities.

The Scottish Human Rights Commission has submitted the document to the UN setting out ways in which poverty means people in Scotland’s economic, social and cultural rights are not being met.

Poverty, poor health, economic inequality, insecure employment and discrimination blight too many people’s lives in Scotland

It has been compiled as part of a review taking place in Geneva, by the UN Committee for the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

The report highlights failures to advance social and economic rights in relation to health inequalities, the gender pay gap and gender segregation in employment and training, and in particular employment-related discrimination experienced by Scottish Gypsy/Travellers and disabled people.

Scotland’s new tax, welfare and borrowing powers are identified as an important vehicle for better realising people’s rights.

Judith Robertson, chair of the commission, said: “We all have the same rights – to work, to an adequate standard of living, to health, education and housing.

“Unfortunately poverty, poor health, economic inequality, insecure employment and everyday discrimination still blight too many people’s lives in Scotland. These are human rights issues and must be tackled by Scotland’s politicians and public authorities as such.”

While acknowledging efforts made by the Scottish Government, the report stresses the need for greater progress.

Robertson continued: “Human rights in Scotland are at an important juncture – there is much good work to build on, but a long way to go before we can say with confidence that everyone in Scotland enjoys their full range of human rights equally.

“With new powers coming to the Scottish Parliament, the commission will be sharpening its focus on ensuring our governments and public authorities meet their human rights obligations.”

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights will publish its findings on Scotland and the UK’s implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in July.



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