The ALLIANCE works to ensure mental health law, policy and practice is aligned with human rights standards and principles.

There is growing evidence that people affected by mental health issues in Scotland do not fully enjoy their right to access timely, good quality support. We also know that disabled people, people living with long term conditions and unpaid carers can experience poorer mental health and may have different requirements that affect how they access mental health support and services.

By mainstreaming equalities and human rights in our mental health law and policy we can ensure that people living with mental health issues have a strong voice and enjoy their right to live well, free from discrimination, and with support and services that put them at the centre.

The ALLIANCE has engaged extensively with recent developments in mental health law, policy and practice, through responding to the Scottish Mental Health Law Review, the Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, and the Suicide Prevention Strategy.

We are also an active member of the Scottish Government’s Mental Health Equality and Human Rights Stakeholder Forum.

For more information on our mental health policy work, please email Lucy Mulvagh, Director of Policy, Research and Impact at

Peer research on health and human rights with marginalised groups.

While the health of people in Scotland continues to improve, health inequalities persist. To reduce health inequalities we need to act across a range of public policy areas to tackle economic and social inequalities alongside actions with a specific focus on disadvantaged groups and deprived areas. This participatory research on health and human rights was commissioned to empower people affected by health inequalities to find solutions.

The research was undertaken in partnership with the ALLIANCE, the Health and Social Care Academy, Glasgow Homelessness Network,  the Mental Health Foundation, and NHS Heath Scotland. The project builds on the work of Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights (SNAP) and informed the work of the Health and Social Care Action Group.

Between December 2015 and January 2016, a total of 83 people participated in the research, including 34 people who had experience of homelessness and 49 women with the status of refugees or asylum seekers took part in the research in Glasgow. They were asked to think about what the right to health meant to them, and to reflect on their past experiences of services and health issues.

Links and resources

Read the full research report.

Watch videos about this project.

View a case study of the project, produced for the Scottish Human Rights Commission.

Any questions?

If you have any questions you can contact Rob Gowans, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at

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Research report exploring human rights in health and social care: where we've been and the journey ahead.

In February 2023, the ALLIANCE published a commissioned research report, authored by branch social research, titled ‘The Opportunity is Now’.

The research combines an overarching literature review and analysis of eleven elite interviews across four selected case study areas:

  • What next for human rights policy and health and social care in Scotland?
  • Learning from the ‘pandemic experience’
  • Human rights in healthcare education
  • Reflection and aspirations for Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights

It aims to capture some of the issues, barriers, aspirations, innovations and experiences of the health and social care sector in Scotland.

The report seeks to begin to unpack the questions and emerging issues which surround health, social care and human rights – what the sector has been through, where it is now, and where it is going.

Read the full report.

Watch a short video of the third case study on human rights in healthcare education via our YouTube channel.

Listen to an ALLIANCE Live podcast discussing the report findings and its recommendations.

Read our ‘Opportunity is Now’ opinion pieces.

Read a follow-up report analysing a 30 minute live research session with participants who attended the launch event of ‘The Opportunity is Now‘.

Any questions?

If you have any questions you can contact Lucy Mulvagh, Director of Policy, Research and Impact at

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The ALLIANCE says no to the UK Government’s Rights Removal Bill.

What is the Rights Removal Bill?

The Rights Removal Bill is a proposed law that was introduced by the UK Government on 22 June 2022. This is formally known as the ‘Bill of Rights Bill‘ however campaigners are referring to it as the Rights Removal Bill.

The proposed Bill would replace the Human Rights Act 1998 with much weaker human rights protections. This is regressive and would cause legal uncertainty, particularly for devolved nations.

In September 2022 it was decided that the UK Government has postponed the Bill. The date for its second reading is still to be announced.

What are we doing about it?

The ALLIANCE is working with civil society organisations across the UK to say ‘no’ to the Rights Removal Bill. You can read more about what we have been doing via the links below:

ALLIANCE consultation responses:

Joint activity:

Opinion pieces

ALLIANCE members and partners have shared their views on the impact of the Rights Removal Bill in Scotland:

Further reading

For more information, please contact Ellie Meikle, Policy and Information Officer at

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Firmly rooting Scottish law, policy and people's experiences in human rights.

The growing focus on human rights in Scotland is a welcome development towards building a society in which all people are equally valued. Human rights incorporation has been a key priority for the ALLIANCE. In March 2021, 126 individuals and organisations joined the ALLIANCE and Inclusion Scotland in calling for full and direct incorporation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People into Scots law.

The Scottish Government has committed to introducing a new Human Rights Bill, which will incorporate four international human rights treaties. This new Bill will include specific rights from:

  • the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People (UNCRPD)
  • the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
  • the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
  • the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (CERD)

The new Human Rights Bill will be underpinned by the recommendations of the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership. The National Taskforce was set up in December 2018 and published its final report in March 2021. The report makes 30 recommendations, which have been accepted by the Scottish Government. These include measures which will advance our full range of human rights, including economic, social, cultural and environmental rights.

In June 2022, the ALLIANCE held an online event as part of our Annual Conference to reflect on the recommendations of the National Taskforce and to update on progress towards incorporating human rights into Scots law. Read the event report.

In February 2023, we published ‘The Opportunity is Now’ – human rights in health and social care in Scotland. The research report unpacks questions and emerging issues in the sector, including the Scottish Government’s plans for incorporation.

The ALLIANCE is also an active member of the Civil Society Working Group on Incorporation.

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The ALLIANCE works to support human rights to be embedded across health and social care policy and practice.

The ALLIANCE has championed equalities, human rights and a human rights based approach since our inception. Human rights are basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled. They enable us to live our lives with dignity and participate fully in society. Ensuring everyone can access and realise their human rights is vital to the health and wellbeing of both individuals and society as a whole.

Our aim is to mainstream equalities and human rights through all our work, make the application of human rights more accessible, and channel human rights concerns and areas of good practice across our policy work.

If you would like to discuss our work on equalities or human rights further, please email Lucy Mulvagh, Director of Policy, Research and Impact at

If you would like to sign up to our human rights mailing list, please email Allan Faulds, Senior Policy Officer at

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