The Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Alex Neil launched a new campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of human rights in Edinburgh this morning.
The #FlyTheFlag for human rights campaign aims to change the image of human rights and help people feel empowered to make a claim if a breach has taken place.
The Cabinet Secretary was joined at the University of Edinburgh Quad by one of Scotland’s first female same sex married couples and equal marriage campaigners Susan and Gerrie Douglas-Scott.
New research carried out by You Gov has shown that one in five Scots believe that human rights are for minority groups only. This new campaign is designed to help people better understand how human rights are relevant, used on a day to day basis and how they help build a fairer and more progressive society.
Mr Neil said: “Human rights are for everyone, and they should be protected at all costs. As a modern, progressive country we have a duty to uphold the highest standards. Many of us enjoy the benefits, freedoms and protection that human rights offer us without actually knowing much about the rights themselves, and without that knowledge it can be hard for us to reaffirm and protect them.
“It is vital that we build a society where human rights are fully understood, respected and more importantly used. Therefore this campaign is vital to increase awareness of how human rights affect our daily lives and help us to seek support when we feel our rights are being infringed.
“In the last few days, with the terrible tragedy in Paris we have seen how easily the freedoms we take for granted can be threatened by those who would seek to cause harm. Creating a better understanding of our human rights is important and will help build a stronger and more cohesive society, which is more fair and equal.”
Today’s launch was supported by equal marriage campaigners and Scotland’s first female same sex married couple Susan and Gerrie Douglas-Scott who are flying the flag for human rights, Susan said:
“We were the first lesbian couple to have a legal marriage ceremony in Scotland, which was an incredible experience that we’ll never forget. After 18 years together as a loving couple, our relationship had finally been given the same recognition in law and society as all other married couples.”
The campaign has been designed with the support of the Scottish Human Rights Commission and a range of partners involved in the implementation of Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights.
Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, Professor Alan Miller, said:
“We welcome this new campaign from the Scottish Government as a strong contribution to the objectives of Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights (SNAP). Evidence gathered through the development of SNAP shows that people don’t have enough awareness of their human rights, or how to claim them.
“This campaign can help raise awareness and understanding, which in turn can lead to more Scots claiming human rights for themselves, and encourages public bodies and private companies to do more to respect human rights for everyone in Scotland.”
For more information on the campaign visit www.onescotland.org/flytheflag