Issues faced by protected and disadvantaged groups should be proactively addressed as the country navigates its post-Covid recovery to ensure that nobody is left behind, according to a report from the Equalities and Human Rights Committee.
MSPs on the Committee are calling on their successor Committee in the next Parliament to prioritise these issues to ensure that existing inequalities are not further exacerbated by the Covid pandemic.
Convener of the Equalities and Human Rights Committee, Ruth Maguire MSP, said:
“As the country navigates its way out of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s vital that those who are already disadvantaged, should not face any further inequality.
“As this parliamentary term comes to a close, we need to ensure that these issues are given the utmost priority as we move forward to creating a more equal country after Covid.
“We need a strengthened approach that puts equalities and human rights at the core of what we do and urge our successor committee to play a key role in this by actively progressing the key issues highlighted in this report”.
In the report, published today, the Committee also called on all Scottish Parliament committees to prioritise equalities and human rights from the outset and to actively pursue and encourage participation from those least likely to engage to ensure their voices are heard.
MSPs also want to ensure the Scottish Parliament continues to develop as an effective human rights guarantor, demonstrating strong human rights leadership. The Committee has set out a number of actions to achieve in the new Session, building on the actions taken this Session.
A copy of the report is attached.
The Committee’s legacy report sets out a range of issues that need to be monitored to ensure legislation has the desired impact in meeting equalities and human rights standards. It also highlights potential work areas for the new Equalities and Human Rights Committee.
The Parliament agreed on 16 March 2021 that the mandatory Equalities Committee should have human rights permanently included in its remit from 12 May 2021. This will allow successive committees to have a long-term strategic focus on human rights, as well as equalities.
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