Brexit: Rights at Risk

Date: 3rd April 2017
Category: Other human rights treaties and mechanisms, General measures of implementation

Experts from 12 different civil society organisations have outlined the potential impacts on rights in Scotland of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.

The report was brought together by the Human Rights Consortium Scotland, and Together has written chapter 5 on the impact on child rights.

In the wake of the UK vote to leave the European Union, our individual rights must be protected. Rights at Risk (published Monday 27 March) says for individuals' rights must be safeguarded in the wake of the vote to leave the European Union.

The European Union has been the main driver of many individual rights for children, women, disabled people, and workers, as well as rights that are enjoyed by everyone such as a clean environment.

Without the EU pushing rights forward, these organisations are concerned that legal rights may be reduced, and that progress on achieving greater rights for disadvantaged people will stall. They are calling for greater participation in decision-making around Brexit.

Civil society works with, and represents many excluded or rarely listened to people in Scotland. Policy makers must listen to these people, and civil society can help them to do so.


Children's rights

It is more important than ever to highlight the role that the EU plays in upholding children's human rights in Scotland, and evaluate the impact that leaving the EU will have. Children and young people currently benefit from a broad range of EU protections and support, including:

  • Legislation that promotes and protects children's rights in a range of different areas;
  • EU policies that further children's health and well-being; and
  • EU funding programmes focused on children's issues.

Given the extent to which EU law, policy and funding protects and supports children, and the way in which EU law has been incorporated into UK and Scots law, there is a risk of large gaps in protections for children and young people across legislation, policy and practical funding.

Read pages 13 - 15 for an analysis of Brexit's potential impact on children's rights.


Parliamentary Motion

Since the publication of Rights at Risk, Christina McKelvie MSP has lodged a Parliamentary motion as follows:

That the Parliament notes the Human Rights Consortium Scotland report, Rights at Risk, which details testimony from civil society experts regarding how Brexit might affect the everyday human rights that it considers are concurrent with EU membership; agrees with the report that leaving the EU could put human rights on a precarious platform, with no clear assurances from the UK Government that the current legislation, such as the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights, will apply; further agrees that, without membership of the EU, the adherence to the European Convention on Human Rights will become far less assured and more subjective to the wishes of a Conservative administration that it believes has very little regard for enshrining such legislation; reiterates its deep concern that the UK Government has repeatedly failed to offer assurances to EU nationals living in the UK that their status and residency will be unaffected by Brexit; believes that this is causing undue uncertainty and great worry; considers that this report should act as an alarm call to the wider public regarding, what it believes to be, the blatant disregard and lack of concern that the UK Government is showing for human rights legislation post-Brexit; supports the call by the report's authors for Scotland to be an international leader in the implementation of human rights law post-Brexit, and encourages everyone to protect and promote a human rights-based society now and after Brexit.