First Minister has outlined Scotland's commitment to the Human Rights Act

Date: 29th September 2015
Category: Other human rights treaties and mechanisms

Nicola Sturgeon has announced that the Scottish Government will not grant the consent needed by the UK Government in any attempt to repeal the Human Rights Act.

The First Minister highlighted how the Scottish Government strongly opposes any attempt to scrap the Act or withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights.

Speaking to an audience of civic organisations, the First Minister said:

"Responsibility for the Human Rights Act rests solely with the Westminster parliament, but European Convention rights are embedded into the devolution settlement and human rights itself is a devolved issue.

"That means that any attempt to repeal or amend the Human Rights Act is likely to require the legislative consent of the Scottish Parliament.

"It is inconceivable - given the breadth of the support which the Human Rights Act commands across the Scottish Parliament - that such consent would be granted. The Scottish Government will certainly advocate that it is not granted.

"The Scottish Government will also oppose any weakening of human rights protections - not just in Scotland, but across the whole of the UK. Human rights, after all, are not English, Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish rights. They are universal rights."

The First Minister also added that rather than being a burden on government, the European Convention of Human Rights sets out minimum standards for civilised societies that we should look to build on.

Together welcomes the First Minister's announcement and are continuing to work with members and NGO alliances across the UK to encourage awareness and understanding of human rights and the Human Rights Act, inclusive of campaigns to preserve the Act.

Together's Scotland NGO report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child strongly recommends that there is no repeal of the Human Rights Act, as the only mechanism through which children can seek legal redress for a number of their rights.

In addition to Together, there is also concern expressed in the ICCPR recommendation that repealing the Human Rights Act and replacing it with a new Bill of Rights for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will weaken the degree of protection afforded to the rights enshrined in the Covenant, within the domestic legal order.