Ambition on human rights

Advisory Group meets for first time.

The new Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership has been urged by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to challenge public bodies to do more to promote human rights.

Addressing the Group’s first meeting in Edinburgh, the First Minister stressed the need to be ambitious, so that Scotland’s commitment on human rights makes a practical difference to people’s lives.

The group, chaired by Professor Alan Miller, has been established following a commitment in this year’s Programme for Government. It will operate independently from government, and develop recommendations on how Scotland can continue to promote and support human rights.

The First Minister said:

“The Scottish Government has been resolute in standing up for human rights, particularly in the face of the risks created by Brexit and the UK Government’s proposals to repeal the Human Rights Act.

“However, it is vital we are not complacent and continue to push ourselves to do more to ensure human rights are embedded in everything we do.

“That is why we have established the Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership. I want this group to provide leadership and to challenge all of our public institutions – including the Scottish Government – to do even more.

“We need to ensure our work on human rights makes a difference, helping people and communities to live with dignity wherever they are in Scotland, and whatever their circumstances.”

Professor Miller said:

“Human rights leadership is needed  more than ever in our uncertain times. For decades now we have benefited from the protection of certain rights guaranteed by membership of the EU and of the European Convention on Human Rights. Brexit removes the former and imperils the latter.

“People are also looking for more effective protection of their internationally recognised rights in such areas as housing, health, social security, education and enjoyment of an adequate standard of living.

“The Advisory Group has been mandated to address this challenge and to recommend those steps needing to be taken by Scotland to secure progress and demonstrate leadership. As Chair it is a challenge I take up with relish and which I approach with a serious ambition to contribute to the progress needed by us all.”


The  make-up of the Group, which will be supported by a wider Reference Group is as follows:


  • Dr Katie Boyle
  • Professor Nicole Busby
  • Professor Paul Hunt
  • Dr Tobias Lock
  • Shelagh McCall QC
  • Professor Alan Miller (Chair)
  • Professor Elisa Morgera
  • Professor Aoife Nolan
  • Judith Robertson


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