What are human rights?
Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms which everyone is entitled to. We are all entitled to human rights in order to live with dignity.
Human rights include civil and political rights, such as:
The right to freedom of expression
The right to freedom of religion or conscience
The right to property
The right to freedom of assembly
The right to privacy
The right to vote.
Human rights also cover economic and social rights, such as:
The right to an adequate standard of living
The right to adequate food, housing, water and sanitation
The rights you have at work
The right to education.
Where do human rights come from?
Human rights in Scotland
The Commission promotes and protects the human rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights, which form part of the law of Scotland through the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Scotland Act 1998. The Commission also promotes and protects other human rights which have been guaranteed by international conventions ratified by the UK.
What is the Human Rights Act?
The Human Rights Act gives people in Scotland the opportunity to have their human rights legal case heard in a Scottish court. The Human Rights Act contains the rights which are included in the European Convention on Human Rights.
What does the Human Rights Act do?
The Human Rights Act makes it unlawful for a public authority (such as a local authority or a court) to act, or fail to act, in a way that is incompatible with a Convention right - all public authorities must look through a lens of human rights when they are interpreting the law. If you feel that one or more of your rights have been breached by a public authority, you can raise the matter in a court. If you are unhappy with the decision and have pursued the issue as far as it can go in the UK, you can take your complaint to the European Court of Human Rights.
What is the European Convention on Human Rights?
The Council of Europe has published a leaflet that highlights the impact of the ECHR on citizens' lives and its importance in the development of international law in the last 60 years. You can read the leaflet in pdf format.
If you would like to read more about the way cases can come to the European Court of Human Rights please see this page.
Human Rights Day
Human Rights Day is marked every year by celebrating the anniversary of the Universal Declaration on 10 December. You can read more about international Human Rights Day at this link.