A Human Rights Bill for Scotland: Consultation

Closed 5 Oct 2023

Opened 15 Jun 2023

Feedback updated 24 Jan 2024

We asked

We sought views on proposals for a Human Rights Bill for Scotland. The consultation opened on 15 June and closed on 5 October 2023. The questions solicited views on the following areas: 

  • Incorporating the Treaty Rights 

  • Recognising the Right to a Healthy Environment 

  • Incorporating Further Rights and Embedding Equality 

  • The Duties 

  • Ensuring Access to Justice for Rights-Holders 

  • Implementing the New Scottish Human Rights Act  

You said

A total of 397 responses were received, 277 of which were submitted through Citizen Space and 120 were sent via email. 66% of respondents were organisations and 34% were individuals.  

The Scottish Government also held seven public consultation events with over 150 attendees.  

An independent analysis of the consultation responses has been published, as well as an Easy Read version of the analysis. We have also published the consultation responses in accordance with respondents’ preferences on Citizen Space.  

Overall the analysis demonstrates that there is strong support for our efforts to bring more internationally recognised human rights into Scotland’s domestic legal framework. However, there was challenge from some respondents on various elements of the proposals and our plans for effective Bill implementation.  

We did

The Scottish Government is grateful to those who took the time to provide a response to this consultation. We are carefully considering the results of the independent analysis to help inform the development of the Human Rights Bill which will be introduced during the 2023-24 parliamentary year. The Bill will be accompanied by a Policy Memorandum upon its introduction to the Scottish Parliament, which will set out how we have taken into account responses to the consultation in development of the Bill. The responses will also provide useful feedback and evidence for the associated Bill impact assessments.  

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.

Overview

Scotland is a modern, inclusive nation which respects, protects, and fulfils all internationally recognised human rights. We have made great strides in our collective human rights journey and have committed to go further through a new Human Rights Bill that will incorporate international human rights standards already signed and ratified by the UK into domestic law in Scotland.

Embedding international human rights in Scotland will further emphasise the importance of all people being treated with dignity, and ensure that human rights play an even more central role in our strategies, policies and decision-making processes across all areas of government and the wider public sector. This consultation on the proposals for a Human Rights Bill to be introduced within this session of the Scottish Parliament seeks the views of everyone on that vision.

More Information

Our high level objectives for the Bill. 

We want to:

  • Build on existing human rights and equality protections, enshrined in the Scotland Act 1998, Human Rights Act 1998 and Equality Act 2010, within the limits of devolved competence.
  • Provide a clear, robust and accessible legal framework that ensures:
    • All rights-holders in Scotland can understand and claim international human rights domestically; and that
    • All duty-bearers will better implement rights in practice, respond appropriately to rights issues as they arise, and be held to account when things go wrong.
    • Incorporate into Scots law, within the limits of devolved competence:
      • the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR);
      • the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW);
      • the Convention of the Rights of Disabled Persons (CRPD); and
      • the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
  • Recognise and include the right to a healthy environment.
  • Ensure the rights are incorporated in a way which ensures they can be enjoyed and accessed by everyone without discrimination via an equality provision, within the limits of devolved competence.
  • Provide a clear set of duties for public bodies (including, so far as possible, private actors) carrying out devolved public functions in Scotland, in relation to the rights in the Bill, with the aim of ensuring so far as possible that all law, policy and decision-making by Scotland’s public authorities and services contributes to the advancement of the full range of international human rights standards contained in the Bill.
  • Create and promote a multi-institutional approach so that institutions in Scotland – Government, Parliament, public bodies, courts and independent scrutiny bodies – can work together to ensure rights are upheld and create a human rights culture.
  • Ensure there are routes to remedy available for when there has been an individual or systemic infringement of people’s human rights and that the remedies are accessible, affordable, timely and effective.
  • Through the Bill and wider work, continue to build a human rights culture where duty-bearers place rights at the heart of their decision making, people understand what their rights are and how to access them, and together we build a society where everyone is able to live with fundamental human dignity.

Read the consultation paper 

Read a short guide to the proposals in the consultation

If you are planning to host a group discussion on the consultation, you may wish to refer to our facilitator's guide

Together Scotland have published a child friendly version which includes facilitator guides with activities to help explore the themes of the consultation. 

Consultation Analysis 

An independent analysis of the consultation responses has been published, as well as an Easy Read version of the analysis. 

If you require an additional, alternative version please email us your request at HumanRightsOffice@gov.scot

Why your views matter

Building a human rights culture is the responsibility of everyone. Your views are crucial to this process, and we look forward to hearing them.

More Information

During the consultation we will be running a series of public events across Scotland to allow individuals and communities to come along to share their views and inform the Human Rights Bill.

The events are free of charge but in order to book your place you must do so by clicking on the Eventbrite link below and provide details of each individual attendee.  All tickets should then be clearly displayed upon arrival on the day of the event.

1)  Online Event – 27/07/2023

A Human Rights Bill for Scotland – Scottish Government Online Consultation Tickets, Thu 27 Jul 2023 at 10:00 | Eventbrite

2)  Dumfries – 15/08/2023

A Human Rights Bill for Scotland – Scottish Government Consultation Event Tickets, Tue 15 Aug 2023 at 10:00 | Eventbrite

3)  Glasgow – 22/08/2023

A Human Rights Bill for Scotland – Scottish Government Consultation Event Tickets, Tue 22 Aug 2023 at 10:00 | Eventbrite

4)  Inverness – 28/08/2023

A Human Rights Bill for Scotland – Scottish Government Consultation Event Tickets, Mon 28 Aug 2023 at 14:00 | Eventbrite

5)  Online Event – 05/09/2023

A Human Rights Bill for Scotland – Scottish Government Online Consultation Tickets, Tue 5 Sep 2023 at 18:00 | Eventbrite

6) Online Event - 11/09/2023

A Human Rights Bill for Scotland – Scottish Government Consultation Event Tickets, Mon 11 Sep 2023 at 10:00 | Eventbrite

7)  Dundee – 19/09/2023

A Human Rights Bill for Scotland – Scottish Government Consultation Event Tickets, Tue 19 Sep 2023 at 10:00 | Eventbrite

Accessibility

If you have any accessibility requirements for any of the events please notify HumanRightsOffice@gov.scot as soon as possible.

 

 

Read more

Everyone with an interest should have the opportunity to offer their views to inform this Bill. We will seek to meet with specific rights groups who face historical and ongoing societal barriers to having their voice heard in public consultations. We will publish information packs so that community groups can hold their own discussions and, if they wish, submit a group response to the consultation. Across all this work we will maximise good use of accessibility resources so that as many people as possible are able to get involved.

During the consultation period, the Scottish Government will make sure as many people as possible know about the consultation and are encouraged and supported to take part. This will include a series of regional discussion events with a focus on in-person meetings over a range of urban, rural and remote communities.

 

What happens next

An independent analysis of the consultation responses was published on 24 January 2024, as well as an Easy Read version.  

 

Interests

  • Equality, Welfare and Rights
  • Main hub