What are human rights?

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.

Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law , general principles and other sources of international law. International human rights law lays down obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.

The Right to Food in Scotland (with BSL)

Food is critical to each and every one us, both as individuals and as a society.  It is an essential component of the human right to an adequate standard of living, which allows each of us to live a life of dignity.  

Watch our latest animation, produced in partnership with Nourish Scotland, on what the right to food means in Scotland and how we can make the right to food real for everyone. 

Human Rights Act 1998

In Scotland, civil and political rights are protected by the Human Rights Act 1998 and provisions in the Scotland Act 1998. These rights come from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Other rights are also recognised under international treaties which apply to Scotland. These are mainly economic, social and cultural rights. They include rights relating to employment, housing, health, education and adequate standards of living. The European Union also guarantees the rights of people in Scotland in areas where EU law applies. These laws cover civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. The Scottish Ministerial Code is clear that Ministers must comply with the law, including international law and human rights treaty obligations.