CAS responded to the Scottish Government consultation on a Human Rights Bill for Scotland which opened in June 2023.
In our response:
- CAS strongly supports the proposal to incorporate International Human Rights treaties into Scots law, and place new duties on public bodies and those delivering devolved public functions to meet agreed international standards in delivering these rights for people in Scotland.
- CAS believes there is huge potential for this Bill to improve the lives of people in Scotland, through establishing enforceable minimum standards and improved channels for redress and accountability over the delivery of economic, social and cultural rights.
- Resourcing and capacity-building across duty-bearers, scrutiny bodies, and advice, information and advocacy providers will be vital if the Bill is to realise its transformative potential.
- Resource implications for the advice sector should be considered as soon as possible, in dialogue with communities and providers, and included in any financial memorandum accompanying the Bill. CAS is calling for entitlement to information, advice, and advocacy to be included on the face of the Bill, and as a core element of the Human Rights Scheme.
- More detail is required on the need for legal aid reform, to enable more equitable access to justice. CAS has been highlighting serious gaps in access to legal aid across Scotland for many years, and the lack of accessible, affordable routes to remedy will be a serious hurdle to the success of this Bill.
- CAS believes another key priority of this systemic change should be to simplify, as far as possible, the processes that rights holders have to navigate to access their entitlements, and to access justice and redress when things go wrong.
- CAS supports the incorporation of the Right to a Healthy Environment and urges that this should include protections against environmental health risks experienced by too many people across Scotland - such as damp, mould, and poor sanitation.
- CAS supports the specific inclusion of LGBT and Older People within the Bill’s Equality Clause.
- CAS strongly urges that the ‘Equalities’ treaties specifically protecting rights of disabled people, women, and racialised groups should receive equal treatment in the incorporation model, meaning that substantive elements should be included, under a duty to comply, as far as possible within devolved competence.
For any inquiries, please contact Hyo Eun Shin, Hyo-Eun.Shin@cas.org.uk.
To read our full response, download here.