National Taskforce for Human Rights: leadership report

The report and recommendations of the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership.

Recommendations of the Taskforce

Recommendation 1(a): The following rights are recommended for inclusion in the new statutory human rights framework:

Re-stating the rights protected by the Human Rights Act which gives domestic effect to the European Convention on Human Rights and includes the following civil and political rights:-

  • Right to life
  • Freedom from torture and from inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
  • Freedom from slavery or servitude or being required to perform forced or compulsory labour
  • Right to liberty and security of person
  • Right to a fair trial
  • Freedom from punishment without law
  • Right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence
  • Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  • Right to freedom of expression
  • Right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association, including the right to form and join trade unions
  • Right to marry
  • Right to protection of property
  • Right to education
  • Right to free elections
  • Right to non-discrimination in the exercise of all of these rights

Recommendation 1(b): Incorporation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

For information purposes, this Covenant includes for everyone economic, social and cultural rights, including the following:

  • right to an adequate standard of living, including the rights to adequate food, clothing and housing and the continuous improvement of living conditions
  • right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
  • right to education
  • right to social security
  • right to take part in cultural life

Recommendation 2: Include the right to a healthy environment with substantive and procedural elements in the statutory framework.

Recommendation 3: Incorporation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Recommendation 4: Incorporation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

Recommendation 5: Incorporation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Recommendation 6: A right for older people to be included in the statutory framework.

Recommendation 7: An equality clause that protects and promotes the full and equal enjoyment of rights of LGBTI people.

Recommendation 8: Include an equality clause which aligns with the Equality Act 2010 and provides equal access to everyone to the rights contained within the Bill.

Recommendation 9: The framework states the intent of the legislation is to give maximum possible effect to human rights and recognise that human dignity is the value which underpins all human rights. It is suggested this could be done via a purpose clause.

Recommendation 10: Provide that courts and tribunals are clear on the intent of the legislation including the underpinning value of human dignity, in relation to international law and to comparative law. It is suggested this could be done through an interpretative clause.

Recommendation 11: The Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC)should be given additional powers including taking test cases and conducting investigations and any further extended powers should be considered.

Recommendation 12: Provide for a sunrise clause approach leading to a duty to comply which secures protection for rights-holders whilst also allowing duty-bearers time to prepare for full commencement of the legislative framework.

Recommendation 13: That there be a participatory process to define the core minimum obligations of incorporated economic, social and cultural rights, and an explicit duty of progressive realisation to support the effective implementation of the framework, which takes into account the content of each right.

Recommendation 14: Pre-legislative assessment to be included in the framework – which could include a requirement to certify that any proposed Bill complies with the rights contained within the framework and demonstrate where the proposed Bill contributes to the advancement of such rights.

Recommendation 15: Provide a duty on Scottish Ministers to publish a human rights scheme for the giving of further effect to the rights contained within this framework, to be held accountable for its implementation, to report specifically on how a duty to take the statutory human rights framework into account during the budgetary process was met, progress made on Scotland's National Action Plan for Human Rights, and to provide for periodic reporting duties on implementation plans for the Scottish Government and public authorities.

Recommendation 16: Further consider the best approach to ensure there is clarity and certainty that relevant private actors carrying out public functions, and functions connected to the delivery of rights within the framework, are within the scope of the obligations in the framework.

Recommendation 17: Ensure the Framework allows for making statutory and non-statutory guidance, which should be developed through consultation with key stakeholders, including rights-holders.

Recommendation 18: The Scottish Government takes steps to ensure that public authorities are supported to effectively implement the framework through provision of adequate resources and clear guidance on their duties.

Recommendation 19: The Scottish Government should consider how scrutiny bodies can be supported through provision of adequate resources and clear guidance on their duties within the framework to effectively oversee the framework implementation plans of duty-bearers.

Recommendation 20: The Scottish Government, working with civil society, community-based stakeholders and public authorities, should develop effective ways to make sure that people have the information that they need about their rights and easy access to advice on rights.

Recommendation 21: Through engagement with key stakeholders, including those who face additional access to justice barriers, further consider accessible, affordable, timely, and effective remedies and routes to remedy that will be provided for under the framework.

Recommendation 22: Further consider specific duties being placed upon front-line complaint handling mechanisms and scrutiny bodies in order to enhance access to justice and ensure human rights obligations are given effect by all public authorities.

Recommendation 23: Explicitly allow for bodies with "sufficient interest" to bring proceedings on behalf of claimants.

Recommendation 24: Include in the framework an approach to standard of review of the reasonableness of a measure that takes into account international human rights law standards and comparative best practices.

Recommendation 25: Further consider how the framework could provide for the full range of appropriate remedies under international law to be ordered by a court or tribunal when needed, including targeted remedies which could provide for non-repetition of the breach (such as structural interdicts).

Recommendation 26: As part of the development of the framework, to further explore access to justice, taking into account the views of right-holders, in order to consider how the framework could help provide a more accessible, affordable, timely, and effective judicial route to remedy.

Recommendation 27: The Scottish Government should adopt an innovative and human rights-based approach towards engaging the public in developing the framework including the guidance and its implementation.

Recommendation 28: The Scottish Government should develop a large-scale public awareness campaign about the new framework.

Recommendation 29: The Taskforce recommends that further consideration be given to including an explicit right to participation, drawn from the principles of international human rights law, within the legislation.

Recommendation 30: Further consideration should be given to the development and strengthening of effective monitoring and reporting mechanisms at all levels and duties at both national and public authority levels, recognising that this will be important to secure better compliance with the framework. It should include consideration of a National Mechanism for Monitoring, Reporting and Implementation, as recommended by the First Minister's Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership.



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