The development of Scottish social security legislation provides a timely opportunity for the Scottish Government to fulfil recent public commitments by the First Minister to respect, protect and fulfil human rights and further develop economic and social rights in Scotland.
Social security is a basic human right. It is protected by specialised human rights instruments and guidance. For example, the Council of Europe’s Code of Social Security, Article 12 of the European Social Charter, Article 34 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No. 102 and General Comment 19 of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR). These all provide detailed standards and commentary on the State’s obligations to respect, protect and fulfil the right to social security.
The Commission believes human rights provide a legal and objective foundation to the concepts of 'dignity' and 'respect' to be built into the new Scottish social security system. Human rights also helps to reframe social protection as a right and entitlement to be realised in support of the realisation of all other human rights and broader social justice.
The Commission believes the Scottish Government should adopt a human rights based approach to the development, delivery and monitoring of Scottish social security to ensure the system respects, protects and fulfils everyone’s right to social security.