Scotland politics

Scots human rights boss rejects Bill of Rights reform

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, file pic from 1999
Image caption Westminster ministers want to see the European Court of Human Rights reformed

The Scottish Human Rights Commission has rejected any UK government plans for a new UK Bill of Rights.

The body said current human rights laws must not be substituted for "weaker" legislation.

Westminster ministers want to see the European Court of Human Rights reformed, and set up a commission to look at a new bill.

The move followed a row over votes for prisoners and the sex offenders' register.

The European Court of Human Rights earlier ruled the UK's blanket ban on prisoners voting was unlawful.

The Conservatives want to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a Bill of Rights, after Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to "get a grip" on cases where the current laws were used inappropriately.

But Prof Alan Miller, chairman of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, said current legislation should be retained and enhanced, by incorporating the UK's international human rights obligations into domestic law.

"Especially in these times of budget cuts the public - particularly the most vulnerable - need more and not less protection, and more and not less security in employment, housing, health, social care, and education," he said.

"It must not be the most vulnerable who bear a disproportionate burden of the cuts, and individuals and communities need more and not less participation in decisions which impact upon their lives.

"Human rights are a means of ensuring that."

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