Commission welcomes findings of Special Rapporteur
The Scottish Human Rights Commission welcomes the preliminary statements made by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing on the conclusion of her mission to the UK.
The Commission was pleased to help facilitate discussions between the Special Rapporteur and a wide range of civil society organisations in Scotland during her visit.
The recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur will be considered by the Drafting Group developing Scotland’s first National Action Plan for Human Rights, which we aim to launch in December 2013. The National Action Plan will be a roadmap for the progressive realisation of internationally agreed human rights, including the right to adequate housing contained within the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The Commission notes in particular the recommendation made by the Special Rapporteur that the so called "bedroom tax" be immediately suspended and its human impact reviewed. The Commission has repeatedly recommended that welfare reform measures should be assessed based on their human rights impact both in design and implementation. This should happen as a matter of urgency.
The stated view of the Commission is that it is incorporation into domestic law of UN human rights treaties which would prevent and provide protection against any such human rights breaches in the future.
Our Chair Professor Alan Miller has repeatedly called for the incorporation of international treaty obligations into domestic law. He stated that:
“The main lesson for the future is the need to incorporate into domestic law the international treaty obligations which protect the rights to social security, adequate housing, an adequate standard of living and other economic, social and cultural rights.”
Note to editors:
UN Special Rapporteurs are unpaid independent experts appointed by member states of the UN Human Rights Council. For more information on the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing see http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Housing/Pages/HousingIndex.aspx.
The UK has voluntarily undertaken the obligations in international law to implement the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights but has rejected repeated recommendations from UN human rights bodies that it incorporates it into domestic law so as to provide better protection to those living in the UK.
For more information on the development of Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights see http://scottishhumanrights.com/actionplan.
To see our evidence to the Welfare Reform Committee at the Scottish Parliament in May 2013 see http://scottishhumanrights.com/news/latestnews/welfarereformafterevidence.