28. Memorandum from Scottish
Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux
Citizens Advice Scotland welcomes the call for
evidence on the establishment of a Human Rights Commission to
protect and promote human rights in the UK.
Citizens Advice Scotland is part of the Scottish
Human Rights Forum, an informal network of organisations with
the common aim of seeing a Human Rights Commission established
in Scotland. While we believe a distinct Scottish Human Rights
Commission is necessary to reflect the separate legal system in
Scotland we also support the establishment of a Human Rights Commission
for the UK, which would work closely with its Scottish counterpart.
We recognise the existence of other statutory
bodies to receive complaints on some aspects of human rights,
particularly discrimination. However these organisations do not
cover the full range of human rights, as outlined in the Human
We would particularly support a Commission with
the power to conduct investigations on the request of others where
there may have been a violation of human rights. The experience
of the Citizens Advice Bureaux is that many clients are reluctant
to pursue their rights through tribunals or court cases, citing
fear of the process as the reason why (see enclosed report). We
would therefore welcome the establishment of a body which removes
the responsibility from individuals to ensure human rights legislation
That said, we believe other duties of a Human
Rights Commission such as general awareness-raising, producing
guidance for public bodies and advising Parliament, would significantly
reduce the number of cases contested under the Human Rights Act.
Citizens Advice Scotland believes any Human
Rights Commission must be established on a statutory basis and
given adequate resources to ensure it has the power to fulfil
its duties effectively.
20 June 2001