Human rights



Human rights ignored by public bodies during pandemic

New research from Amnesty International UK and the Human Rights Consortium Scotland (HRCS) found evidence that the human rights of people in Scotland were frequently overlooked as major public service redesigns took place during the ‘first wave’ of Covid-19 in 2020. The findings further strengthen the case for the commissioning of an immediate public inquiry into the handling of coronavirus in Scotland. The research shows that although progress was made in 2019 towards considering human rights in decision making across councils and health boards, this positive progress reversed in 2020 as the number of human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) informing policy declined dramatically. Of the councils and health boards surveyed, 26 provided evidence that impact assessments including human rights considerations were routinely used to assess policy throughout 2019 – however, this number dropped to 11 for the period March to September 2020 as social care was withdrawn and cancer treatment paused.

Published 26 May 2021

Anti-torture committee warns against impact of austerity measures on prisons

The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) today issued a set of minimum requirements for conditions of detention in European prisons, concerned by the negative effects of pre-existing austerity measures in certain states, which could be exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Published 6 May 2021

FREE: Human rights and the environment – new online course for legal professionals

The Council of Europe’s HELP programme (Human rights Education for Legal Professionals) has launched a new online course on the environment and human rights.

Published 5 May 2021

Human rights commission issues recommendations over ‘vaccine passports’

The Scottish Human Rights Commission has set out the concerns and obligations that must be considered by the Scottish government in any moves to introduce so-called "vaccine passports".

Published 29 April 2021

Four United Nations treaties to be incorporated into Scots law

Plans to incorporate human rights treaties into Scots law have been announced by Equalities Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville.

Published 12 March 2021

Financial redress act for survivors of historical child abuse in care welcomed

The Scottish Human Rights Commission has welcomed the passing of the Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Act at Holyrood.

Published 12 March 2021

Alarm bell sounded on risks to Human Rights Act

The Scottish Human Rights Commission has warned of potential risks to the protection of people’s rights in Scotland as a result of the UK government’s latest review of the Human Rights Act.

Published 3 March 2021

Covid-19: Concerns for prison population raised

Concerns for the prison population have been raised by the Scottish Human Rights Commission.

Published 19 January 2021

Human Rights Act review launches call for evidence

The UK government's review of the Human Rights Act has launched a call for evidence.

Published 14 January 2021

UK action over slavery supply chain must be extended

UK measures to avoid complicity in forced labour in China must be extended, human rights campaigners have said.

Published 14 January 2021

JUSTICE Scotland Annual Human Rights Day Lecture 2021

JUSTICE Scotland’s Annual Human Rights Day Lecture will return on 21 January 2021 with a discussion on the Human Rights Act.

Published 13 January 2021

Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2021 finalists revealed

A doctor dedicated to helping people in war-torn Sri Lanka, a performer reaching out to those battling addiction and a humanitarian bringing the latest cancer therapies to the developing world, are all in the running for this year's Robert Burns Humanitarian Award (RBHA). The winner will be announced via an online ceremony on Monday 25 January.

Published 8 January 2021

China: Lawyers hired by Hong Kong protestors to be struck off

The Chinese government is to revoke the licences of human rights lawyers hired to help protestors in Hong Kong who were arrested as they attempted to flee to Taiwan last August.

Published 6 January 2021

China: Former lawyer who reported on Covid-19 outbreak jailed

A former lawyer who used social media to report from Wuhan following the first outbreak of Covid-19 last February has been jailed for four years for "picking quarrels and provoking trouble".

Published 5 January 2021

Call for changes to Human Rights Act interpretation to protect people during arrest and detention

Major changes to the way courts interpret the Human Rights Act are necessary so the legislation does more to protect people detained because of the expansion of police powers, a new study says.

Published 22 December 2020