Strong equality and human rights laws to protect people

Briefing for the 2021 Scottish Parliament election: our recommendations for strong equality and human rights laws

We believe that all parties should commit to these policy priorities for the 2021 to 2026 session of the Scottish Parliament:

  • Equality and human rights must be safeguarded. These are the legal bases for our expectations that we will be, and our right to be, treated fairly and equally as we go about our lives.
  • Incorporating the UN human rights treaties into Scots law. Scotland can be a leader in human rights protection. Strengthening our human rights legal framework through incorporation will help us do that.
  • Making the Public Sector Equality Duty as effective as possible. Public bodies play a huge part in our lives and reviewing the Specific Duties will help them to focus on achieving equality in our communities and integrating a proactive approach to tackling inequality in their work.
  • A better understanding of inequality to effect change. Public bodies must do more to collect adequate equality data: stronger evidence of inequalities, and impacts on people with protected characteristics, will enable us to make informed decisions to reduce inequality and measure our progress.
  • The process for gender recognition must be simplified. A de-medicalised system to change legal sex will better support trans people to live their lives free from discrimination.
  • A more civil debate. We need to be able to address issues of equality and human rights respectfully, in a way that doesn’t leave participants feeling harassed or attacked, and that values the views of people with lived experience.
  • A Parliament that represents Scotland. The next Parliament should consider how political parties can better reflect their communities by ensuring candidate selections are as inclusive as possible. This could be through legislation and also applies to local authority elections.

Last updated: 05 Nov 2020