Scottish human rights organisations launch project to embed a human rights analysis into public bodies’ budgeting
THE SCOTTISH HUMAN Rights Commission (SHRC) and Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the Alliance) are launching a new project which will work with public sector budget holders – including local authorities, health boards, police, and community planning partnerships – to ensure budget decisions will have a positive impact on people’s human rights.
Funded by the European Union and supported by the New York Centre for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), the organisations will deliver a series of workshops on economic and social rights, build capacity to carry out a human rights analysis of the Scottish Government budget, and develop a set of indicators to measure Scotland’s performance in meeting its human rights obligations.
The project will be launched on Wednesday with a master class featuring a range of international experts, hosted by the Scottish Parliament’s equalities and human rights committee convener Christina McKelvie MSP.
“We hope that a Scotland wide ‘national direction’ on human rights budgeting will follow.” Christina McKelvie MSP
Speaking ahead of the launch, McKelvie told CommonSpace: “We want to keep Scotland leading in the field of human rights-based budgeting.
“That’s why I’m thrilled to be able to help launch the SHRC’s project to help local authorities with human rights based budgeting.
“We hope that a Scotland wide ‘national direction’ on human rights budgeting will follow, ensuring everyone, particularly protected groups, are helped and not hurt by the public pound.”
The equalities and human rights committee has called on the Scottish Government to develop a national framework for human rights based budgeting to ensure that “protected groups are not unfairly impacted upon” by budget decisions.
Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission Judith Robertson said: “We welcome the Scottish Parliament’s equalities and human rights committee’s call for the Scottish Government to implement a national framework for human rights based budgeting.
“This is something we have long advocated for and we are delighted that we have been awarded funding from the European Union’s NHRI.EU [National Human Rights Institutions] fund to help make this a reality.”
“There is still some way to go before people can fully enjoy rights like the right to health and equal participation.” Ian Welsh, the Alliance
Robertson said there was “significant political will” in Scotland to progress human rights, and that the organisation had also had positive engagement from some public authorities towards achieving this goal.
She added: “We look forward to working on this project, with the Alliance and CESR, to develop practical ways to help public authorities understand how best to protect the rights of every person in Scotland through their budget setting.”
The project will seek to embed within budgeting decisions an understanding of the right to social security, the right to food, the right to the highest attainable standard of health, and the right to housing.
Ian Welsh, Chief Executive of the Alliance said: “There is still some way to go before people can fully enjoy rights like the right to health and equal participation in decision-making.
“We are particularly focused on how human rights apply to health and social care and the many people, including people who are disabled, living with long term conditions and unpaid carers, for whom human rights remain unrealised.
“Human rights budgeting would help realise these rights and we believe this initiative will help to further stimulate discussion and add to the growing body of work in this area.”
Picture courtesy of Engender
Look at how important CommonSpace has become, and how vital it is for the future #SupportAReporter