Quakers welcome ambition for human rights in Scotland

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Banner saying "Immigrant rights are human rights"

Banner saying "Immigrant rights are human rights"
Quakers are working for human rights for all. Photo: BYM

Quakers in Scotland have produced this briefing for the Scottish Government debate on Human Rights on Thursday 13 December 2018

Quakers in Scotland welcome the report of the First Ministers Advisory Group on Human Rights, and the ambition it contains that Scotland can be a place where human rights are upheld and advanced.

Quakers have a long history of working in the area of human rights. It is our faith, which compels us to believe that there is that of God in everyone – and everyone therefore deserves to be respected purely because they are human. This has in turn led us to work across the world in building peace, conflict resolution, and with refugees and asylum seekers. This work has been undertaken in a variety of ways, offering practical support, lobbying for changes in legislation, and engaging with partners.

For some years we have been working to have the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child around military involvement in schools recognized. We are also currently working towards increasing the understanding of the depth of benefits peace education can bring Scotland in terms of school, interpersonal and intercommunity peace - not just peace building on an international stage.

We believe that both of these issues are fundamental to Scotland being a country that not only pursues human rights, but can develop a deep understanding in its citizens from an early age as to what human rights are and how they operate. However, neither of these advances are uncontroversial, and there are many who disagree – and who have a right to voice that disagreement.

This is why we believe it is important not just to have discussions around human rights that aim for the low hanging fruit, but to have those which are more difficult, which may cause discomfort and be tricky to resolve. It is in these tricky areas that the real dedication to human rights in Scotland will be displayed.

Quakers in Scotland wish to uphold all our representatives in this debate no matter if they agree with us or not, and hope that you will all take a small step forward towards forming Scotland in to peace building nation on every level.

“The world is a dark enough place still for too many. It can ill spare even the poorest rushlight candle of cheerfulness or the smallest fire of fellowship. We must not put out the glimmer of light which shines for so many still today through the tavern windows, unless we can put a better in its place. We need the light of a brighter cheerfulness, and the glow of a warmer fellowship.”

T Edmund Harvey, 1931 Quaker faith & practice 20.39

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