Human Rights


Scottish Human Rights Commission (Twitter): Taking a human rights based approach is about using international human rights standards to ensure that people’s human rights are put at the very centre of policies and practice. A human rights based approach empowers people to know and claim their rights. It increases the ability of organisations, public bodies and businesses to fulfil their human rights obligations. It also creates solid accountability so people can seek remedies when their rights are violated. The PANEL principles are one way of breaking down what a human rights based approach means in practice.

PANEL stands for:

  • Participation
  • Accountability
  • Non-Discrimination and Equality
  • Empowerment
  • Legality

Cathy Asante Presentation on Human Rights Based Approach


Human rights can help to bridge the cultural divide between health and social care. Embedding human rights within the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Bill, and the wider agenda, provides a shared foundation, not owned by ‘health’ or ‘social care’ and focused on people, not structures or systems. Human rights underpin a range of ideas currently prevalent across health and social care, including: personalisation; person-centredness; recovery; coproduction; and self management. All of these are about the person being at the centre and having choice and control over their own lives.


A Human Rights Based Approach can help us to deliver the Public Service Reform agenda.


SNAP – Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights – was launched on 10 December 2013, marking International Human Rights Day.

Following four years of research and partnership working, led by the Scottish Human Rights Commission, it sets out a bold roadmap towards a Scotland where everyone can live with human dignity – where international human rights are realised in people’s lives.

SNAP is the first National Action Plan for human rights in any part of the UK. It is based on experience from other European and Commonwealth countries, as well as guidance from the United Nations and the Council of Europe.

SNAP was developed by a Drafting Group drawn from the public and voluntary sectors. An Advisory Council of members reflecting Scottish civic life oversaw the process.

SNAP aims to build a better human rights culture, help improve people’s lives through human rights and contribute to a better world by giving effect to Scotland’s international human rights obligations.


Over two days from 2-3 June 2015, the Scottish Recovery Network, See Me, and Voices Of eXperience joined forces to deliver a landmark national event on human rights and recovery simultaneously online and in Glasgow. February 2016 saw the publication of The Rights for Life Declaration and Change Agenda, which is a statement of the rights that people affected by mental health issues in Scotland are calling for. Its aim is to help achieve transformational change to the way people affected by mental health issues enjoy their rights.

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