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by Louise Wilson
12 March 2021
Four international human rights treaties to be brought into Scots law

European Parliament flickr

Four international human rights treaties to be brought into Scots law

The Scottish Government has committed to the incorporation of four international human rights treaties into Scots law.

A new human rights bill will seek to strengthen the rights of women, people with disabilities and ethnic minorities.

The commitment has been made following the publication of a report from the National Taskforce on Human Rights Leadership, which was established by the First Minister in 2019.

It was tasked with developing a new human rights framework in the context of the UK’s departure from the EU.

The group has made 30 recommendations, all of which have been accepted by the Scottish Government.

The new bill, set to be introduced after the election in May, will bring the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into domestic law.

It will also place a statutory duty on public bodies to uphold these rights.

Equalities Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: "These recommendations from the taskforce are bold and ambitious. A multi-treaty human rights bill of this nature, that will also contain a range of others rights on the environment, older people, and access to justice, is unprecedented and will make Scotland a world leader in human rights."

Judith Robertson, chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission and a member of the taskforce, said: “There is now a real, positive opportunity for Scotland to build a human rights culture that puts people’s voices and rights at its heart. A new bill creates an opportunity to both embed human rights into decision making and to secure better access to justice when things go wrong.

“Human rights laws are the cornerstone of making rights meaningful in people’s lives. The Human Rights Act has already helped bring the European Convention on Human Rights closer to home for people. A new human rights bill will now build on that foundation and provide stronger protection for a much wider range of rights.”

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