Scotland's human rights watchdog launches plan for next four years

The Scottish Human Rights Commission publishes its Strategic Plan for 2024-2028.

The plan, which has been laid before the Scottish Parliament, identifies our priorities for the next four years and explains what the Commission will do to promote and protect human rights in Scotland. 

It outlines how we will use our powers to build our role and profile as Scotland’s human rights watchdog, to investigate human rights violations, to hold those responsible accountable for making sure those rights are realised, and support public bodies to do better.

Our three priorities are:

  • To use and extend our powers to make sure there are stronger human rights protections for everyone in Scotland. This means we can hold those responsible to account when things go wrong.
  • To engage more people in communities across Scotland in our work, so that everything we do is informed by people’s direct experience of human rights issues.
  • To monitor and report on how human rights are being experienced in Scotland and play our part in creating a stronger human rights culture.

Using evidence gathered in our own monitoring, and through our direct engagement with people in different communities, we identify four key priority issues. These are where we believe there is a need for the Commission to focus on over the next four years:

  1. The impact of poverty on human rights
  2. Human rights in places of detention
  3. Access to Justice
  4. Rights to remedy for groups who have special protections under international human rights treaties.

Jim Farish, Shelley Gray and Claire Methven O’Brien, Members of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, said:

“We have detailed our ambition to lead this organisation out into communities; to talk, to listen and find out how well human rights are being realised in Scotland. This will inform our decisions on how we will use our powers and resources over the next four years. 

“The Commission will focus its efforts on being a strong watchdog for everyone’s human rights in Scotland. This means holding power to account where things go wrong, and supporting public bodies to do better with our help.  We have identified four areas where we believe stronger focus is needed – on poverty, in places of detention, in access to justice, and on the rights of groups of people most at risk.

“The development of a new Human Rights Bill presents a key moment in shaping how public services are designed and delivered to uphold people’s human rights.  We will prioritise work to scrutinise and support that process to best serve the people of Scotland, and to ensure that as a Commission, we have the powers and duties to do the best job we can in upholding human rights.”

You can read our Strategic Plan 2024-28 by clicking this link or it is available on the publications page of our website at

And Easy Read version is available on the publications page of our website.

The plan is available in BSL on our YouTube channel where we are @ScottishHumanRights.

For media enquiries please contact

Notes to editors:

  1. The Commission is a public body. The Strategic Plan is submitted to the Scottish Parliament and we report to it every year on what we are doing to achieve the goals in this plan.
  2. The Commission is Scotland’s National Human Rights Institution. We are set up in law to protect people’s rights and to hold government and public bodies to account.
  3. The Commission is accountable to the people of Scotland through the Scottish Parliament. We also report directly to the United Nations on human rights issues in Scotland.