Chapter 5: Conclusion
The aim of this Report is to respond to our times.
It offers an ambitious and comprehensive set of recommendations which outline how human rights leadership can provide a way forward to improve people's lives and our society.
The combination of the experiences of twenty years of devolution, EU Exit and the Covid crisis has brought us to the cusp of taking the biggest step by far in Scotland's human rights journey. In so doing, we would be contributing to broader global efforts to build back better from the Covid crisis, including through urgently addressing the underlying climate crisis.
The Report's recommendations would for the first time bring into our law and put in a single place the broad range of internationally recognised human rights – civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental – which belong to everyone.
The proposed framework would make these rights real in everyday life, enable their full and equal enjoyment and provide the maximum protection possible within devolved competence. In order to achieve this, key recommendations are designed so as to lead to a shift of power through increasing public participation and the accountability of decision-makers, as well as strengthening access to justice.
The collaborative and evidence-based process chosen by the government to reach these recommendations signals the way forward.
The recommendations are themselves the result of extensive public engagement including with those with lived experience of some denial of their rights. The public sector was directly involved from the outset and independent academic and practitioner expertise was sought and lessons learned from international best practice.
The membership of the Taskforce itself reflects a wide range of experience, expertise and interests and, innovatively, was co-chaired by a Cabinet Secretary and a recognised independent human rights figure. The members engaged throughout in respectful and evidence-based discussion and, whilst retaining their own particular views on issues, reached broad agreement across all the recommendations.
The Taskforce is enormously grateful to all those who engaged with it from different walks of life and parts of the country, across the party political spectrum and across the UK and beyond.
The Report's ambitious recommendations, as well as the nature of the process undertaken to reach them, not only provide hope for the future but a practical means to secure real improvement of our lives and our society and contribute to efforts to build a better world.
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