Scotland politics

Scotland in 'UK first' human rights action plan

Professor Alan Miller
Image caption Professor Alan Miller has been chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission since 2007

A human rights action plan has been launched in Scotland, in a move described as a "UK first".

Scotland's National Action Plan for Human Rights has been developed after four years of research by the Scottish Human Rights Commission.

The plan aims to improve human rights protection in Scotland.

The commission's evidence suggests basic rights are not consistently promoted, respected or protected in people's every day lives.

The Scottish government, the NHS, Amnesty International and various other organisations including trade unions and local authorities were involved in creating the action plan.

Areas of concern when drawing up the document included: care, disability rights, health, criminal justice and business.

Commitments have been made by the bodies behind the plan to integrate human rights more closely into their work.

Commission chair Professor Alan Miller said: "Today, International Human Rights Day, Scotland is taking a big step towards building a country where everyone can live a life of human dignity.

"The Scottish Parliament has human rights at its heart, it created the Scottish Human Rights Commission and today Scotland's first National Action Plan for Human Rights is launched as the next step on Scotland's journey to progressively realise internationally agreed human rights for the benefit of everyone."

'Beacon of progress'

Although this is the first human rights action plan in the UK, they do exist in other countries, such as Sweden, Spain, New Zealand and Australia.

Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights said: "Scotland's National Action Plan for Human Rights is a bold venture which aims to bring human rights home in people's everyday life.

"It signals a strong commitment to internationally agreed human rights standards which is particularly significant in the current context of economic crisis and austerity."

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "The plan is an important milestone in our journey to create a Scotland which acts as a beacon of progress internationally.

"We will continue to work with the Scottish Human Rights Commission to make rights a reality for all in Scotland, in keeping with the importance this Government has long attached to human dignity, equality and fairness and the pursuit of social justice."

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