The SNP Government has a proud record on human rights and the party has consistently opposed UK militaristic foreign policy from the Iraq War to the bombing of Libya and Syria. It has also fought against the Bedroom Tax and for the rights of migrants. In sharp contrast the Tory administration and its Blairite Labour predecessor have been complicit in war crimes in these same countries and in Afghanistan. Currently, the UK sells weapons and provides personnel to assist in the bombing of civilian populations in Yemen. At home, the current UK government demonises migrants and has recruited a private agency to carry out ‘fit-for-work’ assessments leading to deaths by suicide of the disabled. I could go on.
Yet, the UK Government has denied Scottish Ministers the opportunity to attend the UN review on 4 May where they could have put their measures under UN scrutiny and received recommendations for further improvement.
Equalities Secretary Angela Constance has said:
‘The actions we are taking to ensure human rights are respected and protected reflect a national vision – shared by government, civil society partners and the Scottish people – of a country where everyone is able to live with dignity…..However, the direction the UK Government has been taking is fundamentally incompatible with that view. While UK Ministers have called into question protections under the European Convention on Human Rights and European Law, we are working to ensure everyone in Scottish society can enjoy their rights in full.’
Scotland has already implemented a number of UN recommendations on human rights including:
- Tackling poverty through the Fairer Scotland Action Planand enshrining in law the commitment to eradicate child poverty
- Launching the Equally Safestrategy to prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls
- Committing to put dignity, respect and human rights at the heart of the way new social security powers are implemented in Scotland
- Working directly with disabled people to develop Scotland’s delivery plan for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- Practical action to address the inequalities that women continue to experience in the workplace
- Launching Scotland’s Race Equality Framework, to take forward both international and domestic commitments on race equality
- Investing in the Scottish Attainment Challenge to raise educational attainment for Scotland’s most disadvantaged children
I don’t know who, if anyone, will attend for the UK but whoever it is you can be sure they voted to bomb Libya and Syria and that they support Bedroom Tax 1.0 and 2.0.