Promoting human rights internationally

Scotland has a strong and enduring commitment to securing democracy, the rule of law and human rights across the world. We expect all states to recognise fundamental human rights, comply with human rights legislation and condemn human rights abuses wherever they occur.

International engagement

We use our international engagement as an opportunity to help increase respect for, and understanding of, human rights worldwide. This involves:

  • ongoing dialogue with states at ministerial and official level, raising human rights where appropriate in a diplomatic and culturally sensitive manner
  • sharing our experiences, values and expertise in areas such as justice, education and climate change with a view to seeing the human rights of people across the world fully realised


We are committed to being a full and active participant in the EU and Council of Europe's human rights institutional mechanisms. These include the:

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, attended the launch of Scotland's first National Action Plan for Human Rights in December 2013. He endorsed it as a model for others to emulate.

Scottish Human Rights Defender Fellowship

The Scottish Human Rights Defender Fellowship offers human rights defenders working in difficult conditions temporary respite and an opportunity to undertake research, develop skills and build networks during a 3-month visit to Scotland.

It is a partnership between the Scottish Government and the University of Dundee, supported by campaign groups Front Line Defenders, Amnesty International, Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund and Beyond Borders Scotland. 

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