Major International Human Rights Conference in Edinburgh

The First Minister is to address a major conference in Edinburgh tomorrow, Wednesday 9 December, ahead of international Human Rights Day on Thursday 10 December.

The event will hear from human rights experts - including from the United Nations, Germany and Finland - who will discuss the potential for Scotland to further embrace economic, social and cultural rights.

These are human rights such as the right to the highest attainable standard of health, or an adequate standard of living, which are not currently incorporated into Scottish law, despite them being ratified through treaties agreed to by the UK. Other rights which are currently ratified but not incorporated include specific human rights standards relating to women, children, minority's ethnic communities or disabled people.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will address delegates about the potential of these human rights to bring about change in Scotland.

Professor Alan Miller, Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, which is co-hosting the event said: “This conference marks a very real opportunity for Scotland’s National Action Plan, about to enter its third year, to advance our vision of a country where everyone lives with dignity.

“We will hear from the First Minister and international guests about the importance of economic, social and cultural rights. We will also hear about the experiences from other countries on how they have advanced the right to an adequate standard of living, or to the highest attainable standard of health, by taking international human rights laws into the fold of their domestic laws and through implementation in practice.

“We hope that this conference will be the start of a conversation about how we can do better in Scotland in the years to come.”

Nils Muižnieks, Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe, has recorded a special video address for delegates. Other speakers include Christian Courtis from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, James Wolffe QC, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, Eeva Nykänen from Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare, and Michael Windfuhr, Deputy Director, German Institute for Human Rights. Other panel leaders include Alison Elliot, Peter Peacock, Elin Gwynedd from the Welsh Government, and Professor Miller.

International Human Rights Day is on Thursday 10 December, with a global theme this year of celebrating "Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always."

For media enquiries, please contact Emma Hutton on 07833 402289 or Jenifer Johnston on 07464 447425.

Notes to Editors

  1. The conference, ‘Putting the justice into social justice: How international human rights can deliver progressive change for Scotland’ is taking place to mark international Human Rights Day, which is on 10 December.
  2. The event starts at 9am at Our Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh.
  3. Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights (SNAP) is now entering its third year, having been launched by the First Minister and Nils Muižnieks on 10 December 2013. SNAP provides a roadmap for the bold vision of a Scotland where each and every person can live a life of human dignity. SNAP is now the home for collective action on a wide range of human rights issues by dozens of partners working across government, civil society and the public sector.
  4. More information about the conference programme is available on the SHRC website.