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Incorporating Human Rights in Scotland

The First Minister of Scotland has committed to incorporating international children’s rights into domestic law, and the Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership has further recommended that Scotland should incorporate all human rights treaties. Recent research shows that incorporation is complex and that civil society groups are often confused by how incorporation can be done and what it can achieve in practice.

Parliament and Calton Hill

Working with key partners (Human Rights Consortium Scotland, Amnesty Scotland and Together), this project brings academic research together with civil society expertise to develop a framework for best practice on incorporation, ensuring that civil society organisations have the information and training they need in order to influence key decision-makers.

Led by Dr Kasey McCall-Smith, the overall aim of this project is to develop a best practice framework, using international examples of incorporation across different human rights sectors, to be used by civil society human rights groups in Scotland, which will include:

  • Identifying gaps in relation to civil society’s understanding of the legal process of incorporation of treaties into domestic law;
  • Co-developing training materials with project partners to aid civil society organisations’ advocacy on incorporation, including to the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament;
  • Delivering training to civil society organisations across different sectors which will aid them in strategic planning and advocacy for human rights treaty incorporation; and
  • Disseminating best practice treaty incorporation to wider groups of policymakers in collaboration with project partners.

This project is funded by an ESRC Impact Acceleration Grant.

Watch Dr Kasey McCall-Smith discuss the project:

In November 2019, the Incorporating Human Rights in Scotland project held a scoping workshop, which was designed to identify gaps in relation to civil society's understanding of the legal process of incorporation of treaties into domestic law.

Participant perspectives:

The Incorporating Human Rights in Scotland Workshop was held at the University of Edinburgh on 27 February 2020 for civil society human rights groups in Scotland.

Training videos

Dr Kasey McCall-Smith: What is incorporation and why does it matter?

Sofie Quist & Veronica Luhtanen: Incorporation in context: Lessons from other countries

Accompanying documents

Glossary of Key Terms (PDF)

Best Practice Framework from International Examples (PDF)