Firmly root Scottish law and people’s experiences in human rights.

Implement the statutory framework of the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership and legislate for full and direct incorporation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People into Scots law.

Human rights are what enable us to live our lives with dignity and participate fully in society. When people have difficulty accessing their rights, as is too often the case for disabled people and people living with long term conditions, then that dignity and participation are negatively impacted.

The growing focus on human rights in Scotland, including the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership, is a welcome development. The ALLIANCE has actively engaged with the National Taskforce[i] because we know that unless human rights form part of the law of the land, they cannot be fully realised.

A recent report from the ALLIANCE and Inclusion Scotland[ii] highlights the possibilities for incorporating the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People (UNCRPD) into Scots Law. We believe that full and direct incorporation of the UNCRPD should form one part of the statutory framework emerging from the National Taskforce. Incorporation will formalise and strengthen Scotland’s existing commitment to the UNCRPD principles, ensure that disabled people’s rights and lived experience steer policy and practice, and that they are enforceable.

Reform mental health law and policy to align with international human rights standards on equality and non-discrimination, participation, accountability, and transparency.

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, as equal, active citizens, free from discrimination, and with support and services that put them at the centre.

The Scottish Government should embed a human rights based approach to mental health law, policy and practice, using the PANEL principles[iii] and the UNCRPD.  This would reduce the gap between human rights values and the current reality of Scotland’s mental health law and strategy. Ensuring that rights are meaningfully considered across services and support will have a profound, positive impact for people with lived experience of mental health issues.

Adopt a human rights budget work approach to Scotland’s national budget, to embed fairness, transparency and people’s participation in resource allocation, financial decision making, monitoring and accountability.

Human rights budget work embeds fairness, transparency, and people’s participation in budgetary matters to ensure decisions are equitable and that there are robust accountability processes in place. Adopting a human rights budget work approach to Scotland’s national budget would put people at the centre of financial decision making and consideration of how human rights are impacted by the way that money is sourced, raised, allocated and spent.

Financial decision making can create significantly disproportionate outcomes for different groups, reinforce systematic inequalities between certain population groups, and exacerbate the position of disadvantaged and marginalised groups in Scottish society.[iv]  Human rights budget work is sensitive to these issues and provides an opportunity to recognise and realise human rights to their full potential, acting as a powerful driver for positive change across all sectors, including health and social care.  It would contribute to the growing momentum to progress human rights in Scotland, and the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework commitment to “respect, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from discrimination”.[v]

Download the ALLIANCE 2021 Scottish Election manifesto at the link below.

[i] Event report: All Our Rights in Law – ALLIANCE, January 2021

[ii] Incorporating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People (CRPD) in Scotland report – Inclusion Scotland and the ALLIANCE, November 2020

[iii] Human Rights Based Approach: The PANEL principles – Scottish Human Rights Commission (this link will take you away from our website)

[iv] Human Rights Budget Work: What, Why, How?: Collected Briefing Papers – Scottish Human Rights Commission, September 2019 (this link will take you away from our website)

[v] National Outcomes: Human Rights – Scottish Government (this link will take you away from our website)