UN Expert on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights visits Scotland

The Scottish Human Rights Commission welcomes the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights to Scotland today.

The UN representative, Philip Alston, is in the UK to undertake a human rights fact-finding visit from 5 to 16 November 2018 to investigate Government efforts to eradicate poverty. 

Professor Alston will be spending two days in Scotland meeting with government, civil society organisations, people with lived experience of poverty and statutory bodies such as the Scottish Human Rights Commission.

Welcoming Prof Alston's visit to Scotland, Judith Robertson, Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission said:

"Poverty and inequality in Scotland are pervasive and longstanding human rights issues. Poverty erodes the dignity of too many people and communities who face barriers in the realisation of their rights. The Commission welcomes the UN Special Rapporteur shining a light on the poverty experienced by people in Scotland.

"Scotland has already taken significant steps to strengthen the measurement of poverty and human rights through the newly established Poverty and Inequality Commission, statutory child poverty targets and the revised National Performance Framework. There is also a Government commitment to consider the incorporation of socio-economic and other rights, not currently protected in Scottish law, in particular the rights contained in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

"The Commission believes that a stronger framework of both measurement and accountability for the realisation of international rights such as the right to social security, health and an adequate standard of living, including housing and food, would help address some of the challenges. Stronger accountability frameworks would ensure that the levers of devolved power were exercised in a way which ensured these rights were progressively realised and that the Government and public bodies were directly accountable to people.

"Following the impact of a decade of financial constraint and significant and damaging changes to social security at Westminster, coupled with the pending impact of Brexit on rights, it is timely for the Scottish Government to make accountability for socio-economic rights core to a vision of a just, fair and inclusive society."