New National Taskforce to lead on human rights in Scotland

A national taskforce is to be set up to ensure that Scotland is a world leader in putting human rights into practice.

The group will focus on the development of new legislation to enhance the protection of human rights in the country.

It will be co-chaired by Strathclyde University Professor Alan Miller and Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville.

The announcement of the taskforce follows recommendations made in December last year by the First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership.

Consultation is already under way by the Scottish Government on proposals to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law.

Nicola Sturgeon and Professor Alan Miller
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met with Professor Alan Miller, chair of the Advisory Group on Human Rights at Bute House, Edinburgh as he submitted his report on human rights (Jane Barlow/PA)

Co-chair Professor Miller said: “There is an urgent need for human rights leadership in today’s world. The leadership steps to be taken in and by Scotland are clear.

“It is therefore a welcome responsibility to have been asked to co-chair the National Task Force for Human Rights Leadership.

“I look forward to working with my co-chair and with people from all walks of life to improve the everyday lives of everyone and to help make Scotland a better country in a better world.

“In taking on this role I pay tribute to the human rights commitment already demonstrated by the Scottish Government, and also by the Parliament and the wider public sector in Scotland.”

He added: “I also recognise the tireless commitment and invaluable contributions made by civil society over many years as well as the inspiration to be drawn from the work of the Scottish Human Rights Commission and Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights.

“That collective ambition and the learning from the lived experience of individuals will remain central to the work of the taskforce as it takes forward its work to ensure Scotland becomes an international leader in building a society based upon human dignity.”

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, Shirley-Anne Somerville said that she is looking forward to working with Mr Miller on the taskforce.

“I am delighted to announce the establishment of Scotland’s new National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership,” said Ms Somerville.

“I am pleased that Professor Alan Miller has agreed to serve as the independent co-chair.

“Professor Miller has had a distinguished career as an advocate for human rights both in Scotland and at international level.

“I look forward to working closely with him to deliver a new statutory framework that ensures everyone in our society can live with human dignity and enjoy their rights in full.”

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