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Marking 10 Years of The Scottish Human rights Commission

Marking 10 Years of The Scottish Human rights Commission

Posted by: admin | 12 December 2018| Categories: Events , Team News

Scottish Human Rights Commission 10th Anniversary


This week, we celebrated a unique day in the world of human rights, commemorating 70 years since the United Nations adopted the Declaration on Human Rights and 10 years since Scotland embedded the protection of human rights into its fabric through the establishment of the Scottish Human Rights Commission.


At Scottish Parliament this week, Judith Robertson, Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, reflected on the journey over the last ten years that has taken Scotland from a place where public authorities saw human rights as something to be complied with to a place where a human-rights-based approach drives the essence of delivery and improvement.


This is a fundamental shift in perspective that has a wide-reaching impact.  The protection and promotion of human rights becomes the context of every decision and determines the culture of an organisation, a process or a group. This is not easy, however – it is a discipline that takes continued attention, discussion and reflection.


In February 2010, the Scottish Human Rights Commission published a human-rights-based approach to the design and implementation of a Framework for survivors of historic child abuse in care in Scotland. The plan outlined a comprehensive approach to justice for the past and remedies for the future.


The National Confidential Forum has become an integral part of that Framework, providing an opportunity for those who have experienced care as children in Scotland’s institutions to be heard.   The reality of care in Scotland has been kept in the dark for far too long, and that care was Scotland’s responsibility. At the Forum, we work to understand what happened in the past; this will enable us to ensure that those who feel their childhoods have been lost have not been forgotten.


By empowering all those with experience of Scotland’s institutions to be heard, we can then produce clear recommendations of improvements to government – based on real experiences as told by those who actually lived them.  By telling the National Confidential Forum about what happened in care, hundreds of voices, together, have the power to shine a light on care.


We, as individuals and as a nation, still have a long way to go, of course. Human rights violations are still perpetrated internationally as well as right here in Scotland.  A human-rights-based approach, however, provides a clear benchmark to assess our progress and make the future better for everyone.


As Donald Macaskill of Scottish Care stated, “At their best, human rights hold a mirror in front of us: of a world and a humanity which we need to become...  That’s why human rights are important – not about the law alone, but about how you and I relate to each other”.


By acknowledging the experiences of the past, we can make that mirror reflect a brighter, safer, happier future for children in care in Scotland.

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