Human rights in Scotland

What are human rights?

Human rights are the rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world. They apply from birth until death, regardless of where you are from, what you believe or how you choose to live your life. These rights are defined and protected by law. In Britain our human rights are protected by the Human Rights Act 1998.

We work closely with the Scottish Human Rights Commission, with whom we share our human rights remit in Scotland. 

If you want to read more about human rights, the Human Rights Act 1998 and how the Commission works and contributes to human rights issues in general, visit the human rights section of our website.

Our human rights work in Scotland

Social Security policies in Scotland

The Scotland Act 2016 devolved power to the Scottish Parliament and Government giving them the opportunity to create distinct social security policies in the area of devolved responsibility. The newly devolved benefits include Attendance Allowance, Carer’s Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payments, Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and Severe Disablement Allowance. In addition, the following components of the Regulated Social Fund will be devolved – Cold Weather Payment, Funeral Payment, Sure Start Maternity Grant and Winter Fuel Payment. Discretionary Housing Payments are also to be fully devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

The principles of the Social Security Bill include that:

  • social security is an investment in the people of Scotland
  • social security is itself a human right and essential to the realisation of other human rights
  • respect for the dignity of individuals is to be at the heart of the Scottish social security system

To assist the Scottish Government the Equality and Human Rights Commission, working with the Scottish Human Rights Commission, has:

  • published a research document, Social security systems based on dignity and respect, conducted by the University of Ulster
  • has transferred knowledge about the Cumulative Impact Assessment to the Scottish Government
  • worked to ensure that users of the new system have a voice in how it is established and run

Inquiry into human trafficking in Scotland

The Commission led an inquiry into human trafficking in Scotland.

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Scotland

The Commission has written an overview of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Scotland.

Last updated: 06 Feb 2018