Brexit and Human Rights – Where Does Scotland Stand?

Livingston James’ Douglas Adam looks at the impact of Brexit on Human Rights in the UK and what Scotland is doing to lead the way.

As Brexit negotiations continue, increasingly the conversation is turning to its human impact, and how the rights of British people, and EU citizens, must be protected.

Last month, over 100 Scottish campaign groups, charities, and civil society leaders came together to launch the Scotland Declaration for Human Rights.  Individuals and organisations are being invited to sign the Declaration to call on Scotland’s law and policy makers to take all possible steps to protect people’s rights, making Scotland a world leader in the field.

Human Rights issues were also on the agenda at last month’s Gathering 2018, with the First Minister addressing an audience of third sector professionals to state her aim for Scotland to become a leader on Human Rights in the UK and beyond.

A joint statement from the Human Rights Consortium for Scotland and the SCVO recently highlighted their concerns about “the potential loss of protection for rights due as a consequence of Brexit and about the impact of persistent negative rhetoric around human rights in part of the UK particularly in politics and the media”.

Those of us working in or with the Public and Not for Profit sectors are acutely aware of the impact Brexit will have regarding ‘Right to Remain’ for the current workforce. European workers contribute significantly to much-needed front line service delivery in these sectors.

Leaving the EU may also increase risks associated with the removal of current levels of protection in relation to rights to a fair trial, and data protection. The UK will no longer be involved in discussions regarding Human Rights across Europe, creating a potential gap between the rights people in the EU will enjoy and the rights that we will have in the UK.

Having a protected, secure, and safe workforce can only be positive for Scotland, allowing the country to continue to thrive. By supporting human rights, we can ensure that our workforce continues to be protected.

Encouragingly, a recent report by the Scottish Human Rights Commission shows that three times as many people surveyed support the championing of human rights compared to the number of those in opposition.  However, organisations and businesses in Scotland and beyond, cannot afford to be complacent, and should be clear on their position with regards their support for the protection of human rights as we continue to navigate the economic, political, and societal challenges that Brexit brings.

Douglas Adam is Livingston James Public Sector and Not for Profit Lead.  To discuss how Livingston James can help you or your organisation, contact [email protected]



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