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10th December 2018
The First Minister’s Expert Advisory Group on Human Rights has today recommended that the right to a healthy and safe environment should be enshrined in Scots law or a Scottish Bill of Rights. The First Minister has welcomed the recommendations and will establish a Taskforce to take them forward.
Responding, Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Head of Campaigns Mary Church said:
“We warmly welcome the recommendation that the right to a healthy and safe environment should be enshrined in Scots law, and trust that the First Minister and the new task force will give this and all the recommendations of the expert advisory group on human rights the priority they require.
“The right to a healthy and safe environment, and the UN framework principles that elaborate it, underpin all other human rights. In the current context of increasingly urgent environmental problems like climate change and biodiversity collapse it is more important than ever that these rights are understood, incorporated into our laws and robustly upheld.
“We note that Scottish Ministers must move to comply with their obligations under the UN Aarhus Convention on access to justice in environmental cases in order to deliver the right to a healthy and safe environment. The Scottish Government has a long history of foot-dragging on fully implementing the rights established by the Convention, which requires that individuals, communities and NGOs have affordable access to the courts to challenge decision making that adversely impacts on the environment.”
The recommendations of the First Minister’s Expert Advisory Group are being published on 70th UN International Human Rights Day.
Notes to Editors
1. The report / recommendations of the First Minister’s Expert Advisory Group on Human Rights can be found at: http://humanrightsleadership.scot/
2. The First Minister’s announcement of a Task Force to take forward the recommendations of the Human Rights Advisory Group is at: https://news.gov.scot/news/enhancing-human-rights
3. The First Minister announced the Expert Advisory Group on Human Rights in the 2017 Programme for Government, and subsequently appointed Professor Alan Miller as Chair. Friends of the Earth Scotland has participated in the work of the Advisory Group by way of its reference group, and a roundtable on environmental rights.
4. Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.