A Human Rights Bill for Scotland: consultation - easy read

The Scottish Government is gathering views to help a Human Rights Bill, which will bring a range of rights into Scots law for the first time, as far as possible within the limits of devolved competence. This is an Easy-Read version of the Consultation.

Scottish Government : A report about the Human Rights Bill Consultation : Easy Read Version

What this document will tell you

This Easy Read document will tell you about the Human Rights Bill Consultation.

Human Rights mean the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world.

They make sure that things like respect and dignity are there in all parts of our society.

Dignity means being seen as a whole person, with feelings and needs.

The Human Rights Bill is a new set of human rights laws that we want to happen in Scotland.

A consultation is when the Scottish Government asks people for their views before important changes are made.

This document will tell you:

  • what the Scottish Government wants to do
  • about the human rights

What has happened so far

The Scottish Government wants to make human rights stronger and better in Scotland.

This will help more people to have happier and fairer lives.

In 2021 a group set up by government said that there should be some new changes made.

These changes are also called recommendations.

These new changes are:

  • a new plan – called a framework – that puts human rights into law
  • adding 4 new sets of human rights into Scots law
  • making sure that human rights can be enjoyed by everyone
  • helping people to fix problems if their rights are not respected
  • helping organisations who make decisions to think about human rights when they make plans
  • adding a right to a healthy environment

Environment means the things around us, like:

  • the places where we live and work
  • the places we like to visit
  • the air we breathe
  • the water around us

What the Scottish Government wants to do

We want to want to make Scotland's human rights even stronger.

We want rights to be respected and protected.

We want everyone to know how to get their rights – including the human rights that are shared by people around the world.

We want to make sure that organisations help give people their rights.

This can happen by:

  • giving people information
  • asking people to help make decisions

We want to put 4 new sets of human rights that are shared around the world into Scots law.

We want to make sure that human rights can be enjoyed by everyone.

We want to make a clear set of rules and guidance for public organisations – like local councils and the health service.

We want to have the right fixes for when things go wrong with people's human rights.

We want to carry on making Scotland a place where human rights are important.

The Treaty Rights

The 4 sets of human rights that we want to put into Scots law come from international treaties.

This means they have been agreed by lots of countries around the world.

We call the rights in these sets treaty rights.

The 4 sets of treaty rights that we want to put into Scots law using the Bill are:

1. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

This is sometimes called ICESCR for short.

ICESCR is a big list of human rights to try and make our lives better.

These rights are about things like:

  • our work
  • our education
  • our basic needs

2. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

This Convention is also called CEDAW.

CEDAW is a big list of rights for women.

It says that all women and all girls should have these rights.

They should be treated equally.

3. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

This Convention is also called CRPD.

CRPD is a big list of rights for disabled people.

It says that disabled people have the same rights as everyone else.

4. International Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

This Convention is also called ICERD.

ICERD is a list of rights that helps countries to stop people being treated differently because of their race.

Race means our background and things like:

  • coming from different places
  • having different skin colours
  • having passports from different countries

Right to a healthy environment

We also want the Bill to have the right to a healthy environment.

This will help make our environment:

  • cleaner
  • healthier
  • safer

Other things

There are lots of other things that are important in the Human Rights Bill.

Things like:

  • making sure that many people take part in making decisions about their lives and rights
  • making sure that everyone can access their rights equally
  • helping organisations understand what they must do to give human rights
  • making sure that organisations which care for us take action to make sure our human rights happen – including the right to dignity
  • having a basic level of human rights and services that must always be given

These are also called Minimum Core Obligations - or MCOs for short.

Getting rights

We want the new Human Rights Bill to make things better for people.

This could be things like:

  • finding a solution when someone has not got their rights – this means dealing with complaints really well
  • public organisations sorting out some problems where they can
  • human rights organisations helping public organisations to sort problems
  • making it easier to get our rights by using courts and the law better – when problems cannot be fixed another way

Courts are places where the law is used to sort out problems and decide what happens next.

Putting the New Scottish Human Rights Act into action

These are some of the things that we think need to happen:

  • public organisations – like our local councils and the health service – will need time to get ready
  • lots of different organisations and people should work together to agree the most basic human rights services we need for a life with dignity

These are also called Minimum Core Obligations – or MCOs for short.

  • Scottish Ministers should write a plan that shows how it will make human rights better.

This is called a Human Rights Scheme. They will give it to the Parliament.

  • public organisations should get good training and guidance
  • everyone needs to know more about human rights

What happens next

The consultation about this new Human Rights Bill will be open for 4 months.

This is the time to find out more about the Bill and share your thoughts and ideas.

The consultation will end on Thursday 5 October 2023.

We want everyone who wants to – to tell us what they think.


Email: HumanRightsOffice@gov.scot

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