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Spotlight on Business and Human Rights in Scotland

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Spotlight on Business and Human Rights in Scotland Transparency, Accountability & Scrutiny on the UN's 31 UNGPs on Business & Human Rights

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Purpose To mark the 10th anniversary of the UN’s 31 Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights, this online meeting spotlights Scotland’s connection to and performance on, the global framework of ‘Respect, Protect and Remedy’. The UN agreed in 2011 that business compliance with international human rights law matters domestically and internationally whether it is on worker’s rights, the environment or health and safety.

The FM’s ‘Taskforce on Human Rights Leadership' report, of March 2021, recommended that there should be a new human rights law in Scotland which includes incorporating the UN Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Giving economic and social rights domestic enforcement can be a gamechanger because it also requires compliance with duties. As we move forward to planning the new law in detail, it is essential that transparency and accountability guide the process of delivering as well as evaluating outcomes.

Issues The potential of public procurement to improve practice on human rights and ensure positive impact is clear. For example, the total value of all contracts awarded by the Scottish Government during the 2016-2021 parliamentary session was £3,209,786,818 . (Answer to an FoI request) Remedies must also be available to prevent and address human rights abuses by state and non-state actors. Managing the COVID response has heighted public awareness the use of public money to buy from private sector enterprises whether its services such as from private care homes or products such as PPE.

Therefore this event is an opportunity to explore Scotland’s roadmap to deliver this global agenda following its hosting of an international conference in October 2010 at the Scottish Parliament. The Public, private and Third Sectors will have the opportunity to hear about progress and initiatives to secure domestic delivery within the Framework and the current, interconnecting initiatives and policies.

Given interest so far, it is anticipated that this will be the beginning of a process and CFoIS plans to establish a Network on ‘Business, Human Rights, Transparency and Accountability’. The focus is on making information available to the public to enable scrutiny and accountability and influence current and future practice.

Speakers: The event will be chaired by Peter Hunter Head of Organising UNSION Scotland and confirmed speakers include Mathias Huter Director of the global civil society network for the implementation and monitoring of the UN Convention against Corruption, Carole Ewart, Convener of the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland, Susan Coughtrie, Project Director at the Foreign Policy Centre and Gemma Freedman, International Officer from UNISON.

There will be opportunities for questions and discussion and the event will agree ‘Next Steps’. The online platform will be Teams.

This work is enabled due to a grant from UNSION Scotland - UNISON’s support for this event reflects our commitment to a strong human rights culture within which a rights based approach underpins the fair, equal and transparent delivery of all public services. We hope you enjoy the speaker’s diverse and expert contributions.

About CFoIS The Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland (CFoIS) was established in 1984 to improve public access to official information, to secure the legal right to access information and to enforce that right. The initiative came from the Scottish Consumer Council. We believe in the right of people to find out about how they are governed and how their services are delivered. CFoIS organises the Scottish Public Information Forum (SPIF) for civil society, the public and private sectors. Normally it takes place twice a year but due to a grant from the AWRT, meetings will be monthly until October 2021. For further information go to CFoIS website info@cfois.scot @CFoIScot


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Organiser CFoIS

Organiser of Spotlight on Business and Human Rights in Scotland

The Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland (CFoIS) was established in 1984 to secure a legal right of access to information so that people could find out about how they are governed and how their services are delivered. We have been involved in all the major developments of the legislation at a Scottish level and most recently successfully argued against weakening FoI rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. CFoIS is independent of government and relies on donations and income generated through training.

CFoIS welcomes the opportunity to work with the public sector, civil society and the private sector so that access to information rights deliver transparency and accountability in Scotland.

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