Commission welcomes human rights report from Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights

The Commission is pleased to welcome a new report from the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, following her visit to the UK in summer 2022.

The Commissioner states the overall system for protecting human rights is under pressure in the UK and makes specific recommendations for Scotland.

Particularly, she raises a number of concerns about the UK Government’s plan to replace the Human Rights Act with a proposed ‘Bill of Rights’.

She highlights risks around weaker protections for human rights, divergence between the UK and the European Court of Human Rights and the role of domestic judges under the European Convention. Amongst her recommendations, she notes that access to effective remedies must be ensured. 

The report has a special focus on Northern Ireland and on children’s rights. We support the Commissioner’s call for the incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and for stronger children’s rights impact assessments.

We also share her concerns about the rights of gypsy and traveller communities; and the need for their cultural heritage and housing rights to be protected and fulfilled.

We note the Commissioner’s recommendation that a ban on conversion practices aimed at sexual orientation and gender identity should not be delayed. The Commission also welcomes her statement that “from a human rights perspective, self-determination models for legal gender recognition represent a best practice.”

We share her concerns about the tone of discourse around LGBTI equality.

In July this year, we published a statement on the earlier draft recommendations published by the Commissioner.

We now encourage the Scottish Government and UK Government to reflect on how they might respond to the full recommendations. 

Read a summary of the recommendations on the Council of Europe website.