The equality landscape in Scotland has changed considerably since we published our previous strategic approach to race equality, the Race Equality Statement, in 2008.
Both the Equality Act 2010, and the Public Sector Equality Duty it introduced, have re-energised equality work across Scotland - not only within the Scottish Government, but across Scotland's public institutions - by providing a clear single expression of our collective responsibilities. The Scottish Specific Equality Duties, enacted by the Scottish Parliament in 2012, created new opportunities to improve and share good practice. The Scottish Ministers' Equality Duty, unique within the UK, provides a platform for common action and a way to bring the public sector together to make this work ever more effective.
UK equality legislation is considered by many as being the strongest anti-discrimination legislation in the world. This, alongside the Human Rights Act 1998, our international human rights obligations and the proactive equal opportunities provisions in the 1998 Scotland Act, provides Scotland not only with an effective set of protections and rights but also with an excellent platform from which to drive forward equality work.
Outside of the public sector, Scotland's thriving third sector and the minority ethnic voluntary and community organisations within it continue to innovate new positive approaches to race equality. Some private sector organisations have also shown significant commitment to equality. Individuals and communities from across all ethnic groups in Scotland have also played their part in breaking down barriers; working to create safe, cohesive communities, and addressing discrimination and racism from within. This increases chances for minority ethnic individuals and communities to thrive in a Scotland that is seeking to provide opportunities for all its citizens. The Race Equality Framework has been developed with an appreciation of this hard work and the dedication that people across Scotland's public and third sectors continue to invest in promoting race equality and community cohesion and tackling racism.
Nevertheless, 50 years on from the introduction of the Race Relations Act 1965 (the first legislation to address racial inequality in the UK) significant inequalities remain in many areas of life for minority ethnic people. Too many minority ethnic individuals and groups face poorer outcomes than average; including lower employment rates, a higher risk of poverty, under-representation in public life and with racism being a lived and daily experience for too many people. While Scotland has a strong legal framework and innovative public services, too often these services are not treating everyone with the dignity and respect they deserve. No one in Scotland should experience disadvantage due to structural racism or discrimination on the grounds of colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origin. All must be able to achieve equal outcomes in every area of social, economic, civic and political life.
The Scottish Government is determined to show leadership in advancing race equality and tackling racism, and to use our influence to ensure that this approach is embraced across Scotland. The Race Equality Framework for Scotland sets out how the Scottish Government aims to progress this ambition over the period from 2016 to 2030.
This Framework sits alongside the broader work of the Scottish Government, including the Fairer Scotland discussion, and the evidence gathered to support it will continue to feed into all relevant strategic and policy processes as part of our approach to mainstreaming equality. An overview of some of these key areas of strategy and policy has been provided at Appendix 3.
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