National Taskforce for Human Rights: leadership report

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

Chapter 4: Next Steps

The Taskforce fully recognises the challenges faced by the Scottish Government in determining and implementing the next steps to be taken in this process.

However, the establishment of such a new statutory human rights framework is in itself an urgent and essential part of Scotland's values-based and sustainable post-Covid recovery.

This is what it means to implement the call of the UN for all countries to "build back better" through placing human rights at the centre of all recovery efforts, including economic recovery efforts.

In the view of the UN, the experience of Covid has taught all countries that those societies which coped best were those which had already embedded economic and social rights and therefore had an increased economic and social resilience. Additionally, those societies which had already made efforts to reduce structural inequalities fared better in responding to the pandemic.

The next steps of this process to establish a new human rights framework are likely to include a pre-legislative consultation process, preparation of legislation and policy and explanatory memoranda, the parliamentary legislative process and a public participatory process, development of statutory and non-statutory guidance, as well as capacity-building and development of training and good practice.

This Report has also highlighted a number of areas of implementation which should be included in next steps. These include capacity-building of public bodies, the strengthening of access to justice and public awareness and participation.

The evidence from the Taskforce public engagement, including not only from civil society but also from the Public Sector Reference Group, is clear that a primary policy objective of these next steps should be that the legislative process should establish the new framework in as integrated, practically effective and as early a way as possible.

This is in recognition, for example, that all of the UN human rights treaties are inter-dependent and need to be collectively taken into account in decision-making by all public authorities and courts, so as to ensure full and equal access of everyone to the enjoyment of all of the rights. This is one clear way of bringing about the necessary culture change, including addressing the widely identified necessity to take an intersectional approach.

The framework should be developed through a human rights-based approach. Best practice, as confirmed by the experience of the Taskforce process itself, would be for many of these next steps to be taken using the model of co-production.

The meaningful involvement of public authorities, at both leadership and operational levels, along with civil society and the lived experience of right-holders, is the most likely means of completing these steps in a successful and timely manner.

All the members of the Taskforce and the many others with whom it has engaged are committed to providing every support to help these steps be taken in as integrated, effective and as early a way as is practically possible.

This is because these are the next steps to be taken to secure people's rights in practice. It is this which will demonstrate human rights leadership in and by Scotland and help to build a better country in a better world.



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