What are human rights?

The rights that we are all entitled to simply by being human. These rights guarantee the dignity and worth of all human beings; the autonomy to make our own choices; the freedom to live without discrimination and the support to participate equally in society. Human rights are universal in that they belong to every individual regardless of nation, location, religion, race, age or any other status.

Who gave us these rights?

These rights are guaranteed in the UK by the Human Rights Act and the Scotland Act (1998) but are derived from international legislation, primarily the European Convention on Human Rights. Having separate UK legislation means that if a  person’s human rights are breached he/she can take their case to a British court rather than seek justice from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.
Both Acts set out an individual’s rights in a series of Articles. For example, the UK HRA looks like this:

  • Article 2 Right to life
  • Article 3 Freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment
  • Article 4 Freedom from slavery and forced labour
  • Article 5 Right to liberty and security

Who is bound by these rights?

This legislation requires all public bodies to comply; this means the courts, the police, local government, hospitals and schools. Any other body carrying out a public function is also bound to respect and protect your human rights.

Scottish Care and Human Rights

At Scottish Care, we believe that these rights which state that every person has to be treated with dignity, respect and without discrimination have to be the starting point for people providing and delivering services. And importantly, we need to promote that these rights do not diminish when an individual moves into residential care regardless of his or her mental or physical condition.

In 2010, we worked in partnership with the Scottish Human Rights Commission to develop Care about Rights. A project which developed training and awareness raising resources relating to the care and support of older people. The aim was to empower people to understand their human rights, and increase the ability and accountability of those who have the duties to respect, protect and fulfil rights.

In 2015, we worked alongside older people to develop, “The Convention on the Rights of Residents in Care Homes for Adults and Older People.” This document outlines what rights they believe need to be promoted and protected to ensure their time in care is empowering, dignified and fulfilling. We are currently working with Care at Home Service users to create a similar document which will be launched at our Care at Home Conference on June 23rd this year.