THE Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has said the UK Government’s review of the Human Rights Act should not weaken it in any way and that Scots should continue to benefit from its protections.

In its submission to the review, the SHRC has warned of potential risks to the protection of people’s rights in Scotland as a result of the UK Government’s latest review.

The commission’s chair, Judith Robertson, has warned the UK Government to “refrain from developing any proposals that would weaken the Human Rights Act”.

In evidence submitted to the review, the commission makes clear its concern that changes being considered could make it harder for people to enforce their rights here in Scotland. It also highlighted that changes to the Human Rights Act could undermine Scotland’s devolution arrangements and run counter to work underway in Scotland to strengthen legal protection for people’s rights.

According to the commission, the very framing of the questions contained in the Review Panel’s Call for Evidence gives rise to serious concerns about the impact any changes could have both on human rights laws in Scotland and on devolution itself – the Human Rights Act is enshrined in Scots law and all public bodies in Scotland must abide by the European Convention on Human Rights.

Robertson said: “The Human Rights Act helps people to enforce their rights and hold governments and public authorities to account for violations. It is an important law that helps make our rights a meaningful reality in areas like privacy, protection from violence and abuse, and family life.

“Yet the UK Government is once again looking to limit the Human Rights Act. The changes foreshadowed by this latest review could have regressive consequences for the protection of everyone’s rights, whittling away legal protections, reducing access to justice, and leaving the state less accountable for its actions.

“We know from our work across Scotland that people here support stronger legal protection for all of our rights. They want to see human rights laws go forwards, not back. That’s the direction of travel both the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament have been taking, based on the foundations provided by the Human Rights Act.

“We hope this review will pay close attention to the evidence it hears from Scotland, and that the UK Government will refrain from developing any proposals that would weaken the Human Rights Act.”