Consultation opens on new Human Rights Bill for Scotland

The Scottish Government has opened a consultation on a new Human Rights Bill for Scotland.

It marks a milestone moment for human rights defenders, campaigners and everyone in Scotland who wants to see their human rights better protected in law.

Jan Savage is Executive Director of the Scottish Human Rights Commission. She says:

“This new Human Rights Bill for Scotland will help to build a country where everyone can live with human dignity. It will ensure that public authorities take seriously people’s rights to housing, health, food, social care, community, and education and hold them accountable in law when those rights aren’t met.

"To do this, it must be ambitious in scope, and unafraid to introduce stronger accountability measures.  We encourage everyone to respond to the consultation fully and invite those who need support to get in touch with us.”

The Commission has been calling for stronger protections for human rights in Scotland for more than a decade.

Read more about the proposed new Bill and our work towards it.

The Scottish Government committed to bring this new Human Rights Bill forward in its Programme for Government in September 2021.

The Commission has previously recommended that it should incorporate four international human rights treaties directly into Scots law: those covering economic, social and cultural rights, disabled people’s rights, rights of black and ethnic minority people, and women’s rights.

It will include a right to a healthy environment, and an equality clause to ensure equal access to the rights contained within the Bill. It should also include specific rights for older people and LGBT+ people.

It will mean public bodies and others will have duties to uphold all of these rights and they will be enforceable in Scottish courts.

It may create additional powers for the Scottish Human Rights Commission to take action to uphold these rights.

We look forward to seeing the Bill progress in the months ahead and urge the Scottish Government to ensure that the voices of relevant communities, organisations and those with lived experience of the issues at stake are fully heard during the consultation process.

We also reiterate our calls for the Scottish Government to reintroduce the UNCRC Bill, which incorporates the Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots Law, before the Scottish Parliament as a matter of urgency.