Last week Volunteer Scotland responded to the consultation on the Human Rights Bill. It is a key priority for the Scottish Government to embed human rights into Scot’s law and build a ‘human rights culture’ in Scotland.
Their response was informed largely by feedback from the Policy Champions Network (PCN). It was clear from the discussion that the success of any human rights legislation, and indeed the development of a human rights culture, is reliant on the efforts of volunteers. One attendee even referred to volunteers as ‘human rights defenders’.
Volunteers support the rights of individuals in a range of roles, some more obvious than others. For example, Citizens Advice volunteers provide advice to thousands of people each year, empowering them to protect their own rights. Volunteers also uphold the rights of Scotland's people in a range of other ways.
It is vital that efforts are made to ensure that this legislation does not present additional barriers or pressures for volunteers. With all of this in mind Volunteer Scotland are cautiously optimistic about the future role of volunteers in developing a human rights culture but will be keeping a close eye on how the legislation develops.