National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership

Overview

The National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership was established in early 2019, to take forward the recommendations made in the 2018 Report of the First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights to prioritise actions to progress human rights and equality in Scotland. 

The National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership is co-chaired by Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, and Professor Alan Miller, Professor of Practice in Human Rights Law, University of Strathclyde and Independent Expert with UNDP Crisis Response. The Taskforce is comprised of members from the public sector and civil society, as well as legal and academic experts in human rights.

On 12 March 2021, the Taskforce published the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership Report, setting out its recommendations and evidence base to the Scottish Government for establishing a statutory framework for human rights that will bring internationally recognised human rights treaties into domestic law to protect and advance the realisation of human rights for everyone in Scotland.

The Taskforce’s recommendations are underpinned by extensive public engagement with a wide range of representatives from the public sector, civil society and human rights experts. The Taskforce also greatly appreciated the additional evidence base set out in the All Our Rights in Law report provided jointly by Human Rights Consortium Scotland and the Scottish Human Rights Commission, as well as valuable analysis provided by the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights’ report.

An Academic Advisory Panel of experts was established to support the Taskforce by considering some of the legal complexities involved in transforming international human rights treaties into domestic legislation. The Academic Advisory Panel provided the Taskforce with briefings on a number of areas to inform and facilitate the Taskforce’s work. The Taskforce is grateful for the expertise offered by the Academic Advisory Panel members and thanks them for their valuable contributions.

Programme of engagement

The Taskforce has met with a wide range of groups across civil society and the public sector, public authorities and scrutiny bodies, as well as experts in human rights law, albeit virtually due to Covid-19 restrictions. This included over fifty Taskforce led engagements to inform the development of recommendations for a statutory framework for human rights in Scotland.

The Taskforce would like to thank all participants who contributed evidence, views, and comments which have been vital in forming the recommendations in the final report.

Members

Name

Position/Organisation

Taskforce role

Shirley-Anne Somerville

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People

Government Co-chair

Prof Alan Miller

Professor of Practice in Human Rights Law, University of Strathclyde and Special Envoy of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions.

Independent Co-chair

Christina McKelvie

Minister for Older People and Equalities

Portfolio Minister with responsibility for Human Rights

Claire Sweeney Director for Place and Wellbeing at Public Health Scotland

Member representing Public Health Scotland

Murray Hunt

Barrister specialising in Human Rights, and Legal Adviser to the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Rule of Law

Independent Member

Fiona Killen

Solicitor, Law Society of Scotland

Member representing Law Society Scotland

Prof Elisa Morgera

Co-Director of Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance

Independent Member

Nils Muižnieks

Former Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe

Independent Member

Cllr Kelly Parry

Councillor and COSLA’s spokesperson for community well-being

Member representing COSLA

Alastair Pringle

Executive Director Corporate Delivery and Scotland, Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Scotland

Member representing EHRC Scotland

Judith Robertson

Chair, Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC)

Member representing SHRC

Mhairi Snowden

Co-ordinator Human Rights Consortium Scotland

Member representing the Consortium and civil society interests

Academic Advisory Panel

An Academic Advisory Panel of experts was established to support the Taskforce by considering some of the legal complexities involved in transforming international human rights treaties into domestic legislation. The Academic Advisory Panel provided the Taskforce with briefings on a number of areas to inform and facilitate the Taskforce’s work. The Taskforce is grateful for the expertise offered by the Academic Advisory Panel members and thanks them for their valuable contributions.

Academic Advisory Panel briefing papers were submitted to Taskforce members in order to facilitate discussion.

Members of the Academic Advisory Panel:

Name

Position/Organisation

Panel role

Professor Nicole Busby

University of Glasgow. Professor of Human Rights, Equality and Justice.

Chair

Dr Katie Boyle

University of Stirling. Specialism: models of incorporation of international human rights.

Member

Professor Tobias Lock

Maynooth University, Ireland. Specialism:  EU Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. 

Member

Dr Kasey McCall-Smith

University of Edinburgh. Specialism: the  international human rights treaty system. 

Member

Dr Elaine Webster

University of Strathclyde. Specialism: the concept of human dignity in human rights law. 

Member

Documents