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Co-chairs of national taskforce for human rights leadership announced

Co-chairs of national taskforce for human rights leadership announced

Shirley-Anne Somerville - Image credit: David Anderson/Holyrood

Social security secretary Shirley Anne Somerville and Professor Alan Miller of Strathclyde University are to co-chair a national taskforce for human rights leadership, the Scottish Government has announced.

Somerville has responsibility for benefits and for measures to tackle poverty as part of her portfolio, while Miller has a long background in human rights, including as founding chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission and chair of the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions.

The taskforce will focus on the development of new legislation which would enhance the protection of the human rights in Scotland and make the country a world leader in putting human rights into practice.

This takes forward recommendations made in December by the First Minister’s advisory group on human rights leadership.

The new taskforce will oversee wider work to deliver a radical human rights legislation covering all areas of devolved responsibility, the Scottish Government said.

Alongside this, the Scottish Government is already consulting on proposals to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law.

Announcing the taskforce’s creation, Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“I am delighted to announce the establishment of Scotland’s new National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership.

“I am pleased that Professor Alan Miller has agreed to serve as the independent co-chair.

“Professor Miller has had a distinguished career as an advocate for human rights both in Scotland and at international level.

“I look forward to working closely with him to deliver a new statutory framework that ensures everyone in our society can live with human dignity and enjoy their rights in full.”

Miller said: “There is an urgent need for human rights leadership in today’s world.

“The leadership steps to be taken in and by Scotland are clear.

“It is therefore a welcome responsibility to have been asked to co-chair the National Task Force for Human Rights Leadership.

“I look forward to working with my co-chair and with people from all walks of life to improve the everyday lives of everyone and to help make Scotland a better country in a better world.

“In taking on this role I pay tribute to the human rights commitment already demonstrated by the Scottish Government, and also by the parliament and the wider public sector in Scotland.

“I also recognise the tireless commitment and invaluable contributions made by civil society over many years as well as the inspiration to be drawn from the work of the Scottish Human Rights Commission and Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights.

“That collective ambition and the learning from the lived experience of individuals will remain central to the work of the taskforce as it takes forward its work to ensure Scotland becomes an international leader in building a society based upon human dignity.”

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