Bianca Jagger has said Brexit could threaten human rights as she welcomed plans to introduce a new statutory human rights framework across Scotland.
An independent review group set up by Scotland’s First Minister recommends the new law at Holyrood includes rights already provided by the Human Rights Act and additional economic, social and cultural rights from United Nations treaties.
Speaking at a Scottish Parliament event to mark the 70th anniversary of the United Nations adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Ms Jagger, who runs her own human rights foundation, said: “The 70th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights is a reason to feel proud and happy for all those throughout the world who have been defenders.
“As a British citizen, I feel that Brexit can be a threat to our human rights.
“Therefore, I thank the recommendations put forward today for considering and looking into the effects Brexit could have on all human rights and human rights here in Scotland.
“We are at a crossroads where we must make sure that those rights will not suffer if Brexit is imposed on those of us who feel like we want to remain part of Europe.
“As a Nicaraguan and a British citizen, I value being part of Europe and I value everything that Europe brought to us.
“Let’s continue to struggle.”
Nicola Sturgeon has announced plans to set up a taskforce as the first step in introducing the new law on a human rights framework, a key recommendation from the Advisory Group on Human Rights created to ensure Brexit does not erode these rights in Scotland.
Further recommendations include having a public participatory process as part of creating the new legislation, national monitoring of human rights and developing a written constitution including a bill of Rights for Scotland in the event of Scottish independence.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I endorse the report’s overall vision of a new human rights framework for Scotland with a new act of Parliament at its very heart.”
She added: “As a first step, I will establish a national taskforce, early in 2019, to progress these plans.”
Group chairman Professor Alan Miller said: “The internationally recognised human rights belong to everyone in Scotland and must be put into our law.
“As, importantly, they must then be put into everyday practice. In this way, people are empowered to lead lives of human dignity, to have a sense of self-worth.”
John Wilkes, Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) head of Scotland, said the proposed law would mean Scotland leads the UK in “developing a progressive, rights-based society”.
He added: “This proposed Act of Parliament will for the first time clearly set out the roles and responsibilities of the Scottish state in relation to a wide range of rights and social issues such as children’s, women’s and disabled people’s rights.”
Scottish Human Rights Commission chairwoman Judith Robertson said if the recommendations are taking forward they could close the “persistent gap” between well-intentioned laws and everyday reality for people’s rights.