Essex lawyer takes lead in promoting rights in Scotland

  • Date

    Thu 25 Jan 18

Professor Paul Hunt

Protecting social rights in Scotland, and beyond, is a top priority for Professor Paul Hunt who has been appointed to a new advisory group established by Nicola Sturgeon.

Professor Hunt is one of nine experts appointed to the Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership – established by the First Minister to ensure human rights, equality and dignity are placed at the heart of public policy.

The Group will be independent of Government, challenge public bodies, and develop recommendations on how the country can promote and support human rights.

Professor Hunt, of the School of Law and Human Rights Centre, said: “I was delighted to accept First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s invitation. We will be actively reaching out to Scottish civil society for guidance and inspiration. We will examine the implications for human rights of UK withdrawal from the EU, but also look more broadly at how to refresh human rights for modern times.

“I hope our recommendations, due before the end of the year, will not only be helpful to the SNP, but all political parties in all parts of the UK.”

Speaking about the appointment, Professor Lorna McGregor, Director of our Human Rights Centre said: “This appointment is recognition of Paul’s ground-breaking and pioneering work on economic, social and cultural rights as a scholar, within different parts of the UN and in many national contexts.

“His appointment adds to the Human Rights Centre’s long history of colleagues putting theory into practice through key leadership positions at the international, regional and national level.”

Professor Hunt, who has previously held roles as UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health and as advisor to the Assistant-Director-General of the World Health Organisation, will bring specific expertise in social rights to the Group

“Social rights have the potential to emancipate and empower disadvantaged individuals and communities. Today, they have currency in many countries, but not in these islands where they are shamefully and inexcusably neglected, thereby letting the ruling elite off the hook,” he said.

“One of my responsibilities in the Advisory Group is to ensure social rights are taken seriously,” he added.

Professor Hunt has previously served as an independent expert on the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.