GCU hosts human rights conference

12 December 2012

GCU hosts human rights conference

International Human Rights Day

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) hosted a conference to mark International Human Rights Day.

The event brought together voluntary organisations, political representatives, academics and civic society leaders for discussions on Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights, which sets out to “fill the gaps” as well as build upon good practice in human rights protection in Scotland.

Chair of Scotland’s Human Rights Commission, Professor Alan Miller, urged people from across the country to get involved by submitting their views and experiences.

He said: “The global theme of this year’s Human Rights Day is ‘My Voice Counts’ - this is very fitting as we are encouraging people from across Scotland to participate in forming Scotland’s first National Action Plan for Human Rights. This is an ambitious proposal, and the more ideas and information that are submitted during the participation phase the more effective the Action Plan will be.

“More needs to be done in Scotland to ensure that human rights are consistently upheld in areas like healthcare, social care, housing, education and in the justice system.

"We need to hear from people about the barriers they face in realising their human rights and explore possible solutions. What emerges will be the results of negotiation over the coming months and we aim to make the process people-centered, practical and realistic.

“Many other countries already have a National Action Plan for Human Rights in place, and such plans have been shown to be effective in bringing about sustainable change. It is vital that Scotland makes human rights real for the most vulnerable and marginalised people in our society and the National Action Plan can make a real contribution to that.”

Minister for Community and Legal Affairs Roseanna Cunningham addressed the delegates and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, and Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Mui┼żnieks, both sent video messages in support of the process put in place by the Commission.

International Human Rights Day is celebrated globally on December 10 every year to mark the anniversary of the 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This year’s theme is Inclusion and the right to participate in public life, under the call to action My Voice Counts, referring directly to the articles in the Declaration that provide for the right to freedom of assembly and association, the right to take part in elections, in public life and the right to freedom of expression and opinion.

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