Human rights laws must go forwards, not back

Date: 1st April 2015
Category: Other human rights treaties and mechanisms

As we approach the 2015 UK General Election, SHRC has called on all parties to commit to a progressive approach to realising human rights.

In a briefing to all UK political parties, the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) makes clear that, against the backdrop of often regressive debates about changing the UK's human rights laws, any change must protect rights for all, improve people's lives, ensure accountability, build a better human rights culture and show international leadership.

SHRC encourages commitment to building on the progressive approach to realising human rights embodied in Scotland's National Action Plan for human rights (SNAP): a bold roadmap for action to make all internationally recognised human rights a reality for everyone in Scotland.

The briefing provides a simple test (5 questions) that any proposals to change the UK's human rights laws must pass, to ascertain whether such changes take us forwards or back when it comes to realising human rights.

Professor Alan Miller, Chair of the Commission, said: "Changes to the UK's human rights laws would have a direct impact on the lives of people in Scotland, particularly in areas like immigration, defence and some aspects of welfare. Moreover, any regressive changes would send a damaging message across Europe and beyond."

"Pointing to the development of Scotland's National Action Plan for Human Rights as a progressive approach that could be replicated elsewhere, the Commission calls on all politicians to ensure that human rights laws go forwards, not back".