EQUALITIES Secretary Angela Constance has said Scotland has a duty to speak out for human rights and ensure that our record matches the standards we expect from other countries.

Her remarks came as she published a statement on Scotland’s human rights record ahead of the UN Human Rights Council universal periodic review of the UK next month.

“Human rights enrich every aspect of our daily lives – benefiting individuals and empowering communities,” said Constance. “Both here and internationally, they quite literally save lives. That’s why I am pleased to update the UN on the measures we are taking to progress human rights and build a fairer, more equal and inclusive Scotland.

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“We welcome this scrutiny of our record – therefore it is very disappointing that the UK Government has denied Scottish ministers the opportunity to attend the UN review on May 4. We will, of course, respond positively to any recommendations from the UN that could help us improve our human rights obligations.

“The actions we are taking to ensure human rights are respected and protected reflect a national vision – shared by government, civil society partners and the Scottish people – of a country where everyone is able to live with dignity.”

She added: “However, the direction the UK Government has been taking is fundamentally incompatible with that view. While UK Ministers have called into question protections under the European Convention on Human Rights and European Law, we are working to ensure everyone in Scottish society can enjoy their rights in full.”

Among the measures taken to progress human rights and implement UN recommendations in Scotland are tackling poverty through the Fairer Scotland action plan and enshrining in law the commitment to eradicate child poverty; and launching the Equally Safe strategy to prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls.