Publication - FOI/EIR release

Measures in place to protect people from governmental abuses: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
25 Jun 2019
Measures in place to protect people from governmental abuses: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/19/01393
Date received: 23 May 2019
Date responded: 20 Jun 2019
Information requested

1. An explanation of “what measures are taken into place to protect the people from any governmental abuses and oppression” and supply you with references to these laws and documents.

2. Documents on what can be done when government do abuse and oppress the fundamental rights, interests and welfare of the people.

3. Evidence that the judiciary is independent from government influence.

Response

1. What measures are taken into place to protect the people from any governmental abuses and oppression?

The information held by the Scottish Government in relation to this topic is available on the Scottish Government website. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access or are otherwise unable to access this information via the Scottish Government website, then please provide a postal address and I will send you paper copies. In particular, the Scottish Government website provides specific details of the international human rights treaties that have been ratified by the UK and which apply to Scotland. The Scottish Government has published detailed statements which describe how we are giving effect to these obligations. This information can be found at: https://www.gov.scot/policies/human-rights/our-international-obligations/).

2. Documents on what can be done when government do abuse and oppress the fundamental rights, interests and welfare of the people.

In response to this request, I have attached a copy of an information sheet that we provide to members of the public enquiring about human rights in Scotland. This document is not currently available online, although the content does reflect information which is published on the Scottish Government website. Further information on what to do if you believe your rights have been breached can also be found at https://www.mygov.scot/report-human-rights-abuse/https://www.mygov.scot/report-human-rights-abuse/.
Whilst the Scottish Government cannot provide legal advice in relation to such matters, you will wish to be aware that both the Scotland Act 1998 and the Human Rights Act 1998 provide statutory protection for human rights in Scotland. A solicitor or other legal professional will be able to advise you in relation to the specific application of these legal protections.

3. Evidence that the judiciary is independent from government influence

Our aim is to provide information whenever possible, but in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. Information about the independence of the judiciary in Scotland can however be obtained from the website of the Judicial Office for Scotland at: http://www.scotland-judiciary.org.uk/23/0/Judicial-Office-for-Scotland. Judicial independence is guaranteed in statute under the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008.

Additional information about Scottish Government policy.

The Scottish Government is strongly committed to respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights. This includes promoting public awareness and understanding of human rights and the contribution they make to ensuring that every member of society can live with human dignity. Indeed, that commitment to human rights is now explicitly set out in a formal National Outcome which forms part of Scotland’s National Performance Framework.
Whilst I am only able to provide limited information in response to your specific FOISA request, I am happy to provide a range of supplementary information, over and above the specific material you had identified. This can be found in the Annex to this letter. I hope this supplementary material will be of assistance in exploring the issues you have raised. This further information includes links to a number of documents which are available on the Scottish Government website and through other freely-accessible on-line resources published by third-party organisations.
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More generally, you may also be interested to know that the First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership, which reported in December 2018, has recommended the development of a new statutory human rights framework for Scotland, to be delivered by an Act of the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Government is currently in the process of establishing a National Taskforce on Human Rights Leadership to take that work forward. To be jointly chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, and
Professor Alan Miller – see news release for further information https://news.gov.scot/news/new-national-taskforce-to-leadon-human-rights-in-scotland
In parallel with the Taskforce, we are also taking action to further strengthen children’s rights in Scotland, by incorporating the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into domestic law. A public consultation on this proposal is currently live and runs until 14 August.

Further general information about the Scottish Government’s work to respect, protect and fulfil human rights, and to report on compliance with our obligations, can be found on the Scottish Government website at https://www.gov.scot/policies/human-rights/

 

About FOI

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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Regent Road
Edinburgh
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