Embedding human rights in our work

We aim to make human rights considerations part of the day-to-day business of government. Some examples of how we have done this are below.


In recognition of the right to 'an adequate standard of living, which includes housing' (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 11), and the right to 'respect for private and family life' (European Convention on Human Rights, Article 8), anyone assessed as being homeless is legally entitled to temporary accommodation.

Anyone assessed by local authorities as being homeless unintentionally is entitled to settled accommodation (and possibly to housing support too).

We have developed a person-centred 'housing options' approach, which looks at the range of issues that may help to prevent homelessness. This approach has been promoted through five regional local authority-led hubs across Scotland.

Find out more about our homelessness policy.

Social security

We are determined build a new system founded on dignity, respect and human rights. Of particular importance is the principle that 'social security is a human right, essential to the realisation of other human rights'. The Social Security (Scotland) Bill will establish the first social security system in the UK which reflects the United Nations principle that social security systems should 'be established under national law and ensure the right of individuals and organisations to seek, receive and impart information on all social security entitlements in a clear and transparent manner.'

A rights based approach will be at the heart of everything we do; from policy development and service design, all the way through to the delivery of benefits, the way that agency staff are recruited and trained, and the interaction between staff and the people who use the new service. Over 2,400 people with direct experience of the current system have been recruited to co-produce a new and better social security model for Scotland.

Victims and witnesses

The right to a fair trial has been interpreted as extending to the interests of victims and witnesses (European Convention on Human Rights, Article 6).

The Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 introduces measures to improve support for victims and witnesses.

The legislation provides a specific legal framework to enable individuals to recognise their rights and obligations. It also helps Scotland meet its obligations under European Directive 2012/29/EU. This establishes minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime.

The Victims' Code for Scotland sets out victims' rights in one place and aims to improve their experience of the criminal justice system.

Carers policy

In recognition of the rights to 'just and favourable conditions of work', and to the 'highest attainable standard of physical and mental health' (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Articles 7 and 12) and EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (Article 31)), the Carers (Scotland) Act will ensure better, and more consistent, support for carers and young carers.

The act is designed to support carers' health and wellbeing. Its measures include:

  • a duty on local authorities to provide support to carers, based on the carer's identified needs that meet the local eligibility criteria (national matters that local authorities must take into account when setting their local eligibility criteria will be set out in regulations)
  • a specific Adult Carer Support Plan and Young Carer Statement to identify carers' needs and personal outcomes
  • a requirement for each local authority to have its own information and advice service for carers. This must provide information and advice on emergency and future care planning, advocacy, income maximisation and carers' rights

2014 Commonwealth Games approach to human rights

We were a member of the Organising Committee (OC) for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The OC was responsible for delivering the Games and managing its budget.

The OC produced an Approach to Human Rights policy to ensure that its work and the games themselves respected, supported and promoted human rights.

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