Briefing paper - Why Scotland Needs a National Action Plan for Human Rights
The Scottish Human Rights Commission is pleased to launch a briefing paper, Why Scotland Needs a National Action Plan for Human Rights.
Over the past three years, the Commission has researched the realisation of internationally recognised human rights in Scotland. Today we have published a briefing paper highlighting initial findings, with the full research publication will be available in October 2012.
Read the Briefing Paper here.
The research reveals that whilst Scotland has made notable progress, it can do better. Scotland has a relatively strong legal and institutional framework for human rights, and some examples of positive strategy and policy directions. However, the actual outcomes for people are often inconsistent, and there are other ‘gaps’ which should and can be filled.
Scotland therefore needs a more systematic approach to assure and not assume the realisation of human rights in practice. Drawing on the recommendations of the United Nations and international human rights bodies as well as the experience of a number of countries, the Commission recommends the adoption of a National Action Plans for Human Rights. The development, implementation and monitoring of a National Action Plan for Human Rights should lead to improvements in the realisation of human rights in practice across a broad range of policy areas.
Over the next 12 -18 months we hope that many individuals and organisations will join a collaborative and inclusive process to develop Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights.
At the time of the full publication of the mapping research the Commission will initiate an open and inclusive process to shape the Action Plan, including a National InterAction (a facilitated negotiation of commitments) on Human Rights Day, 10 December 2012. There will also be various other opportunities for involvement until March 2013. We expect that this process of engagement will lead to the agreement of Scotland’s National Action Plan later in 2013.
Commenting on the publication of the briefing paper today, Professor Alan Miller, Chair, said: “Today the Commission is launching an important publication which shows that while Scotland has good examples of human rights based laws and policies, practice remains inconsistent. To assure and not assume the consistent realisation of human rights in practice Scotland needs a National Action Plan for Human Rights. The briefing paper gives a short insight into much deeper evidence on the gaps and good practices in the realisation of all human rights in Scotland.
“When we publish the full research findings in October we will start an open and participatory process to shape Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights - a roadmap towards the realisation of all rights in Scotland. We hope that Scotland will join around 30 countries who have already adopted National Action Plans for Human Rights, as recommended by the United Nations, and we will also look to their experiences during the drafting period.”
What is a National Action Plan for Human Rights?
A National Action Plan for Human Rights is a roadmap that identifies ‘gaps’ in human rights realisation and provides a clear, coherent and systematic way of addressing those gaps. National Action Plans can lead to improvements in human rights protection across a range of sectors such as health, the justice system, housing, policing and the environment.
The United Nations and international human rights bodies recommend that countries adopt a National Action Plan for Human Rights which is evidence based, developed in an inclusive way and independently monitored. Experiences from other countries show the potential of this approach to deliver real and sustainable improvements in the realisation of human rights for all, particularly the most marginalised and vulnerable in society.
Why does Scotland need a National Action Plan for Human Rights?
Human rights belong to all of us and can be a powerful driver of humane, dignified and fair treatment in our homes, our workplaces, our schools, our hospitals and care homes, in fact everywhere we go. They set the conditions in which we should all be able to live with dignity, free from degrading treatment and with the capability to live a full life. Realising this potential requires the right structures and processes to be in place to influence outcomes.
The Commission welcomes any comments from your organisation on the initial findings outlined in the briefing paper, and we will alert you to the publication of the full research findings in October 2012.