Scotland: Amnesty International urges Scottish parliament to protect human rights

Amnesty International has today (1 Nov) called on the Scottish Parliament to support the establishment of a Scottish Human Rights Commission when MSPs come to decide on its future tomorrow. The Scottish Commissioner for Human Rights Bill goes before its Stage 3 vote tomorrow in Parliament.

The Bill is crucial in protecting and promoting human rights in Scotland; without it Scotland will be the only part of the United Kingdom without a Human Rights Commission.

A Scottish Human Rights Commission will have a number of important functions including:

  • Providing positive assistance to the Scottish Executive, Parliament and public authorities in ensuring compliance with Convention rights
  • Helping to promote a positive human rights culture in Scottish society
  • Monitoring compliance and highlighting deficiencies in current law and practice
  • Helping individuals to assert their rights more effectively

    Amnesty International’s Programme Director for Scotland, Rosemary Burnett said:

    “We welcome this Executive Bill which will provide essential guidance to public authorities in Scotland on compliance with the Human Rights Act.

    “Human rights abuses are not just things that happen overseas they can and do happen right here in Scotland. We need to promote a human rights culture so that people know what their rights are and how to exercise them.”

    Amnesty International identified a lack of awareness of the public sector’s obligations under the Human Rights Act. Amnesty’s report ‘Delivering Human Rights in Scotland’ published in September found that nearly two-thirds of public authorities surveyed either did not understand their duties under the Human Rights Act or could not demonstrate how they comply with those duties.

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