A People’s Response to a Human Rights Bill in Scotland

A People’s Response to a Human Rights Bill in Scotland

On 14 September, MRR and the Human Rights Consortium Scotland (HRCS) co-hosted a virtual gathering for people we are working alongside to express their views on the new Human Rights Bill.  The conversation focused on rights and duties, access to justice, accountability, and implementation.  Mhairi Snowden (HRCS) led presentations on each topic above that were followed by detailed group discussions.  

The results of this gathering were published in A People’s Response and submitted to the Scottish Government to feed into their Bill consultation.  It is vital that rights holders are “at the table” and that their views and expertise are central to the drafting and implementation of the new Bill. Here are a selection on their comments:

“We need clear and accessible systems that shift power to individuals and communities.”

“The ‘duty to comply’ doesn’t cover CEDAW, CRPD or CERD – this is concerning. We are wary of the entanglement with the Equality Act as a way of the Bill ‘getting out’ of equality clauses. It’s not fair that some groups will have their rights fully protected whilst others will not. I thought human rights are meant to be equally for everyone?”

“But how will be know if the Scottish Government is using its ‘maximum available resources’ when the budgets are hard to follow, and we don’t get that info in an accessible way?”

“We’re not asking for the moon. We just want sensible and reasonable prevention and access to justice when things go wrong.”

“’Good’ access to justice would mean that people have a quiet life. By that I mean that there would not be stress, worry, anxiety or shame about claiming your rights. No shame about things that are outwith your control – like living on a low income or living with mould. There would be systems, structures in place for a quick and effective and affordable remedy, right at the point of asking.”

“People need to know how to use scrutiny bodies to make a complaint about human rights issues.”

In addition, Making Rights Real are signatories to HRCS’s Bill consultation response.

You can read the full paper here along with the response from HRCS.