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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-05679: Liam McArthur (Orkney Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 19 December 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has with stakeholders to determine whether its human rights legislation and monitoring is effective.

Answered by: Angela Constance 9 January 2017

The Scottish Government has regular discussions with stakeholders from across the whole of Scottish civil society. Those discussions address the full spectrum of international human rights obligations – civil, political, economic, social and cultural – as well as specific obligations set out in treaties concerning, for example, the rights of disabled people, the rights of children, the elimination of racial discrimination, the elimination of discrimination against women, the prevention of torture and inhuman treatment, the rights of national minorities, and obligations in relation to regional and minority languages. Recent meetings with stakeholders have included a roundtable event to support civil society engagement with the Universal Periodic Review process, under which Scotland’s record will be examined by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2017.

The effectiveness of human rights legislation in Scotland is assessed in a variety of ways, including in reports submitted to the United Nations and the Council of Europe and through the work of UN Special Rapporteurs and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. The Scottish Government is committed to integrating both human rights and the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the National Performance Framework. The Scottish Parliament itself plays a central role in monitoring and evaluating compliance with relevant obligations. Scotland’s courts act as the ultimate forum in which the effectiveness of human rights legislation can be definitively tested.