Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world simply because they are human. Human rights apply to you regardless of where you are from, how old you are, what you believe, or how you choose to live your life. It is the law that these rights are applied to everyone equally. These rights help protect the most vulnerable in our communities, including people receiving care and support.
Human rights include:
- the right to life
- the right to an adequate standard of living
- the right to adequate food, housing, water and sanitation
- the right to an adequate standard of physical and mental health
- the right to privacy
- freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment
- the right to freedom of expression
- the right to freedom of religion or conscience
In Scotland, your human rights are protected by the Human Rights Act 1998 as well as a range of international human rights instruments. The rights included in the Human Rights Act affect the rights you have in your everyday life:
- protecting what you can say and do
- your right to liberty
- other similar basic entitlements
Governments cannot pick or choose which rights to honour. They can't be taken away, although they can sometimes be restricted – for example if a person breaks the law, in the interests of national security, or to protect other people's rights and freedoms.
All Scottish public authorities must respect and protect your human rights when they plan services, make policies and take individual decisions
If you know your rights, you can shape the decisions made about your care, so that these rights can be protected. It means that those responsible for providing care services should respect these rights. If they don't respect them, they can be held to account.
Find out more about human rights on the Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland website
The information was last updated on: 4th September 2020