Register now for our Human Rights Defenders Network meeting on the 11th April. We are working with Carole Ewart on developing the network: read her Blog article below for information on the background to the event, and why a Network is an important step for us to take in Glasgow.

“Having campaigned on human rights for decades in Scotland, it is easy to become permanently grumpy and constantly frustrated.  However, as the slogan goes ‘People make Glasgow’ and that reminds me of the importance of working collectively for a rights’ respecting City generally, and specifically in areas that really matter such as health, housing, social care and education.”

“I recognise that people in Glasgow respect and protect human rights everyday through their voluntary and paid roles: representing families who are denied welfare benefits, providing advocacy for vulnerable adults, supporting homeless people, caring for a relative and looking after an elderly neighbour – the list is endless.   Realising that our day to day work is about defending and promoting human rights, rather than just addressing problems and difficulties with the Scottish and UK system, is a bit leap for some.  However, GCVS is inviting you to take that leap and join a new ‘Human Rights Defenders Network’.  The purpose is to share knowledge, skills and analysis to make us feel more confident, more valued and possibly even more effective.  By allying ourselves with the UN framework on ‘Human Rights Defenders’, we can place our experiences and ambitions in context.”

“Above all, the Network is about finding solutions, locally crafted but rooted in international human rights standards”

“2019 presents us with tangible opportunities as politicians, locally and nationally, are engaged in deciding actions and priorities.   Civil society has a role to play in helping their deliberations to fruition.  The trend was set in 2017 when Glasgow City Council put human rights at the centre of its work by appointing a Cabinet Member with responsibility for human rights. Progress continues as the Scottish Parliament is currently considering how best practice on human rights becomes standard practice following the Equalities and Human Rights Committee reportGetting Rights Right – Human Rights and the Scottish Parliamentwhich made 40 recommendations.  In that report civil society gets various mentions including that over the next three years, there is a need to “investigate the capacity and resourcing of civic society equalities and human rights advocacy” (Recommendation 4).  Furthermore, the drive for change comes from the top with the First Minister recently promising a Task Force to deliver on the report from her Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership ‘Recommendations for a new human rights framework to improve people’s lives’.”

As we are moving from theory to practice, GCVS is exercising local leadership and giving a voice to the human rights defenders working across the city.  By establishing a focused network, human rights can be better understood and respected by duty bearers as well as rights holders.  So, give your views by coming along to the meeting on 11th April 2019 at 10am in the Albany Learning Centre, 44 Ashley St, Glasgow G3 6DS.  Register Here for a free placeI look forward to seeing you there.

Carole Ewart is a public policy and human rights consultant who is working with GCVS on developing the network.  www.ewartcc.com