Statement on Report from UK Government's Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities

Statement on the Report from the UK Government's Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities

The Scottish Human Rights Commission shares the concerns of many that the recent Report from the UK Government’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities does not accord with the experiences of many people from black and minority ethnic communities in Scotland, nor the available data. We know from our work that black and minority ethnic people across Scotland face many barriers, including systemic racism, to their human rights, including in areas such as health, social care, housing and employment.

The Report positions itself as providing the UK with a road map for racial fairness. Scotland has a Race Equality Framework, which was developed with an understanding of institutional racism and the need to eradicate it. Following the 6 May elections, we urge the next Scottish Government to make clear its own analysis of racism, and the targeted actions it will take to eradicate all forms of racial discrimination and inequality.

Understanding our past is key to addressing racial inequality. The Commission notes the very positive work being undertaken by many in Scottish civil society to inform and educate people about Scotland’s role in trans-Atlantic slavery and its enduring legacy.

As Scotland’s accredited National Human Rights Institution, the Commission monitors the implementation in Scotland of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). In 2019, we began work to engage with black and minority ethnic communities across Scotland to discuss the human rights issues they face in their lives. We will continue that work over the coming year and then present our findings on the impacts of institutional and systemic racism on people’s lives to the relevant United Nations Committee.

The Commission will also continue to pursue the full incorporation of ICERD directly into Scots law, building on the Scottish Government’s recent commitment to implementing this and other recommendations of the National Taskforce on Human Rights Leadership.