New human rights case studies on housing, health and poverty

Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights has produced a series of case studies and short film profiling how communities in Scotland are using human rights to tackle poor housing, challenge poverty and improve health.

Launched by the Scottish Human Rights Commission to mark the third anniversary of Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights, and International Human Rights Day on 10 December, the case studies feature:

  • A group of people living in mostly council-owned properties in Leith, Edinburgh, who are using human rights to tackle poor housing conditions including damp, mould, infestations of vermin and disrepair.
  • A group of people who have experienced poverty who are working together to raise awareness of the human rights affected by poverty and to advocate for better policies.
  • A project that enabled people who had experienced various health inequalities to understand and tell policy makers about how their right to health was not being met, and how to change this. The project worked with two groups – people who are homeless and women who are refugees and asylum seekers. They had all experienced a range of issues from people whose health was at risk due to poverty to those facing discrimination because of who they are.

Judith Robertson, Chair of the Commission, said:

“When talking of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted sixty-eight years ago this weekend, Eleanor Roosevelt stressed that human rights must have meaning in the ‘small places, close to home’.

“These projects show how the work taking place through SNAP - Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights - is taking international human rights standards and supporting people to apply them in their everyday lives – realising the right to housing, the right to an adequate standard of living and the right to health.”

Heather, one of the Edinburgh residents involved in the housing initiative spoke of how support from SNAP had benefitted the residents: “Understanding our human rights has given us a strength to carry on. We believe now that we really can make a difference – not just for ourselves but for our entire community.”