Commission welcomes report from UN Expert on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights

The Scottish Human Rights Commission welcomes a report from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights.

The final report by Philip Alston comes after the UN representative visited the UK including Scotland last November to investigate poverty.

The Commission shares Prof Alston's analysis of the impact of austerity on human rights in the country and that the UK government "policies pursued since 2010 amount to retrogressive measures in clear violation of the country's human rights obligations".

Read the full report submitted to the United Nations. 

The report highlights recent developments in Scotland citing newly devolved powers on taxation, the Fairer Scotland Action Plan, the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan and the new social security system.

The UN expert, Philip Alston, said:

"It is too soon to say whether these steps - and Scotland's new powers of taxation - will make a difference for people in poverty.

"However, it is clear that there is still a real accountability gap which can and should be addressed.

"But if the compelling recommendations made by the First Minister's Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership are adopted, and if the Scottish Government acts swiftly on its commitment to incorporate the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scottish law, these steps will make a huge difference."

Welcoming Philip Alston's report, Judith Robertson, Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission said:

"The Commission knows from our work with people across Scotland that poverty and barriers to accessing health, housing and social security are of key concerns in their everyday lives. And yet, the international rights that correspond to these concerns have the least bite in our domestic law, and are given the least consideration in practice by public bodies.

"Philip Alston's report highlights an opportunity for the Scottish Government to show leadership in better protecting people's economic and social rights by incorporating these international standards into Scots law.

"The Commission would like to see the swift adoption and implementation of the recommendations made by the First Minister's Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership last year and we await progress on this."