Commission awarded United Nations "A Status" for second time
The Scottish Human Rights Commission has achieved the top grade of accreditation, for the second time, from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions. This will enable Scotland’s voice to be heard at the highest levels in the international human rights system.
Known as “A Status” accreditation, the decision was made by a committee of national human rights institutions from around the world, following a systematic review of the Commission’s effectiveness and independence from the Scottish Government and Parliament. The process is overseen by the UN and, for the first time, gathered and analysed submissions from civil society organisations in Scotland.
The decision means that the Commission can continue to report directly to the UN on Scotland’s implementation of international human rights treaties, make direct contributions to UN bodies such as the Human Rights Council and fully collaborate with other independent commissions from around the world.
Professor Alan Miller, Chair of the Commission, welcomed the news:
“Reaccreditation with A Status demonstrates the confidence that our international peers and the United Nations have in the Commission’s work as an effective and independent national human rights institution.
“The Commission is delighted that we will be able to continue to harness the unique opportunity to bring Scotland’s voice to the table at the highest levels in the international human rights system.
“Through our international engagement, we will continue to share lessons with other countries from progressive initiatives like Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights and to work with peer commissions to tackle contemporary human rights issues around the world. We will also continue to draw on international experience to help improve the protection and realisation of human rights for people in Scotland.”
Following its reaccreditation, the Commission will continue to chair the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI), a role it has held for the past four years. ENNHRI initiatives include projects to advance the rights of older people across Europe and to address the migrants crisis in the Mediterranean.
Notes to Editors
- The Scottish Human Rights Commission is an independent public body with a statutory remit to promote and protect all human rights for everyone in Scotland.
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is the principal United Nations office mandated to promote and protect human rights for all.
- The International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions is the international level coordinating body for national human rights institutions (NHRIs). It is comprised of 108 NHRIs divided into 4 regional groupings representing Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe.
- Accreditation of NHRIs takes place within the UN system according to the “Paris Principles”, a set of guidelines adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1993. The principles outline that an NHRI should have a foundation in national law, be independent from government, have a mandate to cover a broad range of international human rights standards, demonstrate pluralism and independence in the selection and appointment of members and a responsibility to work with both civil society and the state.
- Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights (SNAP) was launched on 10 December 2013. SNAP brings together a wide range of public bodies and civil society organisations, as well as national and local government, to work on improving human rights in people’s everyday lives, building a better human rights culture and fulfilling Scotland’s international human rights obligations.