First Minister addresses human rights conference

Nicola Sturgeon speaking at a human rights conference at the University of Strathclyde.

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, delivered a keynote speech at a conference, on Wednesday 14 November, exploring the evolution of human rights in Scotland.

The conference, organised by Strathclyde Law School, considered what has been learnt since the introduction in 1998 of the Scotland Act – which laid the foundations for the Scottish Parliament – and the Human Rights Act.

Ms Sturgeon said she believed “human rights have been one of the undoubted success of devolution”.

Setting standards

Delegates reflected on the potential for setting standards in a range of spheres such as health, social security and the environment, in the context of human rights. The impact of the UK’s forthcoming withdrawal from the EU was also discussed.

Other speakers at the conference in the University’s Technology and Innovation Centre, included: The Rt Hon Lord Wallace QC, former Advocate General for Scotland and the first Justice Minister under devolution; current Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC; Professor Alan Miller, Chair of the First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership; Advisory Group member Professor Paul Hunt, and Advisory Group members and Strathclyde Law School Professors Nicole Busby and Elisa Morgera.

Dr Elaine Webster of Strathclyde Law School, and the conference organiser, said: “It is hugely encouraging to see Scotland taking the lead and examining how to forge ahead during these times of uncertainty.

It sends a signal to the world that Scotland supports the European and international human rights system founded 70 years ago with the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“It also sends a signal to the Scottish community that we recognise the value in improving the legal framework, which would be one more step towards improving everyday realisation of our rights.

“Today’s conference was designed to engage with the ongoing process in Scotland, and to reflect on ways in which the future of human rights here could be shaped. My colleagues and I are delighted to welcome the First Minister and a range of excellent speakers to discuss these important issues.”