Annual Report 2015-16

Date: 1st November 2016
Category: General principles

The Scottish Human Rights Commission has published its Annual Report for 2015-2016. In a shifting constitutional landscape, Scotland remains on a generally positive path in advancing human rights, but significant challenges and gaps continue to be felt.

During 2015-2016, there continued to be welcome progress in embedding rights based approaches into policies and overall service design. Nonetheless, significant challenges and gaps continue in the reality of too many people's day-to-day lives. The Commission highlights these gaps and makes recommendations for policy and practice changes to address them.

Judith Robertson, Chair of the Commission, said:

"We submitted reports to the United Nations on Scotland's implementation of three international human rights treaties. We also continued to support a range of actions through Scotland's National Action Plan for Human Rights. This included pioneering work to put housing rights into practice and testing a participative approach to identifying local human rights priorities.

"Law provides the foundation for the protection and exercise of human rights. This year, the Commission continued its defence of the Human Rights Act and continued to advocate for greater legal protection for human rights in Scotland. We welcome commitments made by the First Minister in December 2015 to explore the further implementation and incorporation of international human rights into Scots law.

"The coming years will present challenges to the existing framework of human rights protections for people in Scotland. The implications for human rights of the UK's exit from the European Union are unclear, and continued threats to the Human Rights Act are of significant concern. In this climate, the Commission will continue its work to defend, advance and strengthen human rights laws, policies and practices, so that human rights become a lived reality for everyone in Scotland."