Incorporating UN Treaties Into Domestic Law
Views are being sought on plans to enshrine international human rights – including the right to health and an adequate standard of living – into Scots law for the first time.
As part of a forthcoming Human Rights Bill, the proposals look to reduce inequality and would place a broader range of human rights at the centre of how Scotland’s frontline public services are delivered, as well as its policy and law making processes. People would also be able to seek justice where their rights are not upheld.
Legislation would incorporate United Nations economic, social, and cultural rights and environmental standards, as well as rights relating to women, disabled people and people who experience racism.
The proposals follow on from the work and recommendations of the First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership (FMAG) and the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership (the Taskforce). The Taskforce reported in March 2021 and made a number of recommendations for the Scottish Government to establish a new human rights framework for Scotland.
Enshrining rights in law aims to empower individuals to understand and claim them, and to ensure there is more effective monitoring and accountability when things go wrong. Effective delivery of these rights will strengthen the principle of inherent dignity in everyday life.
The Human Rights Bill consultation will run for 16 weeks and close on 5 October 2023.
The Human Rights Bill proposes to incorporate four UN human rights treaties into Scots law:
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
- Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
The Bill will also introduce and recognise a right to a healthy environment and ensure equal access to these rights for everyone.
Civil and political rights are protected through the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights.