Nicola Sturgeon warns Brexit must not threaten Scots human rights

Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to extend human rights
Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to extend human rights
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Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland will seek to extend its protection of human rights and warned this must not be undermined by Brexit.

The First Minister told an audience in Glasgow today that human rights has been one of the great successes of the Scottish Parliament.

She was speaking on the 20th anniversary of the Scotland Act and Human Rights Act becoming law.

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"The Scotland Act and The Human Rights Act, taken together, transformed the context in which human rights issues are considered and decided in Scotland," Ms Sturgeon said.

"In my view, human rights has been one of the undoubted successes of devolution. Over the last 20 years the Scottish Parliament has consistently acted to strengthen human rights protections.

"Our work on social security provides a prime example. In contrast with the unfolding disaster of Universal Credit, our legislation treats people with fairness and compassion and has human dignity at the heart of the process."

The Scottish Government has adopted a rights-based approach to key social policies such as new social security powers and incorporation of the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots law.

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But Ms Sturgeon said: "With the period of uncertainty, which an unnecessary and damaging Brexit poses, we must ensure that 20 years on from the Scotland Act, we battle to preserve, protect and enhance our human rights.

"Earlier this year, I established the Human Rights Leadership Group, which will determine how best to extend human rights protections. That is entirely in keeping with the original devolution settlement."

Dr Elaine Webster of Strathclyde Law School, said Scotland has been "taking the lead" on the issue.

"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," she added..

"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."