Scotland: Amnesty urges ministers to be bold on new human rights law

Scottish Government ministers need to be bold when drafting new human rights legislation, Amnesty International said at the end of a public consultation on government plans. 

Amnesty has welcomed Scottish Government proposals to introduce new legislation which will incorporate four international human rights treaties and additional environmental rights protections into Scots law. The First Minister has said that a draft Bill will be introduced before parliamentary summer recess 2024.  

Amnesty has branded the government plans as a “human rights milestone for Scotland”, but its detailed analysis flags concerns that ministers need to go further for the new Bill to have real impact for ordinary Scots. 

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International UK’s Head of Nations and Regions, said: 

These initial proposals from the government mark a significant human rights milestone for Scotland, and hold the potential to be transformative for many. 

“Amnesty has long campaigned for a Scottish Human Rights Bill. The priority now must be for this legislation to be as strong as possible. The reality is far too many people in Scotland are currently living without full realisation of their human rights, and getting this Bill right is a huge chance to remedy that. 

“Aspects of these plans fall short of the transformative approach that we think can be achieved within devolved powers. Stronger duties should be placed on public bodies to comply with the law, and ministers need to look again at how justice for rights violations will be delivered.  

“We expect a draft Bill before the Scottish Parliament’s 2024 summer recess and, in the meantime, urge the Scottish Government to be bold, and members of all parties to help secure much-needed improvements.” 

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