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03/10/14 15:37

Human Rights Act must stay

Current legislation protects most vulnerable in society.

Responding to media speculation today on a possible repeal of the European Human Rights legislation, Community Safety and Legal Affairs Minister Roseanna Cunningham today said the Scottish Government was ‘strongly opposed’ to such a move, which she warned would have serious consequences both at home and abroad.

Ms Cunningham said:

“The Scottish Government is strongly opposed to any attempt by a future UK Government to repeal the Human Rights Act or to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights. To do so would require the consent of the Scottish Parliament and, given our longstanding opposition, we would invite the Scottish Parliament to refuse this.

“The Human Rights Act exists to protect the interests of everyone in society and the previous UK bill of rights commission in December 2012 clearly showed that the people of Scotland do not want the current legislation to change.

“The safeguards in the Act have been actively used to protect the everyday rights of ordinary people in Scotland, in particular helping some of the most vulnerable in society to challenge policies like the bedroom tax.

“Human rights protections, and the Human Rights Act, are central to the law of Scotland and we intend to do everything within our power to ensure those protections remain in place.

“Today the Scottish Human Rights Commission stressed the importance of Scotland’s Government and Parliament showing strong leadership on this issue, and we stand shoulder to shoulder with them in protecting this country’s commitment to upholding human rights and the rule of law.

“This Government will ensure we continue to protect the best interests of the people of Scotland going forward.

“Any attempt to water down or evade its obligations under ECHR would seriously damage the reputation of the UK as a state and undermine its ability to provide international leadership, as well as damaging relationships with the Council of Europe regime.”