Created by an Act of the Scottish Parliament in 2006, the Commission is accountable to the people of Scotland through the Scottish Parliament.

Our team regularly identifies and responds to strategic legal and policy issues that affect people’s human rights. We raise awareness of human rights through our communications and participation work. The Commission does not handle complaints or provide an advice or help service to individuals. The Commission began working in Scotland in December 2008. Since then, we have carried out extensive research into how human rights are experienced by people in Scotland, where gaps remain and what can be done to better promote and protect human rights for all. We have also developed practical resources for civil society and the public sector to help improve understanding and awareness of how to put human rights into practice.

We work with other organisations and services that do provide advice on human rights issues, so that we can signpost people to them. Working closely with partners from across Scottish society, we also developed Scotland’s first and second national action plans for human rights.

The Commission plays an important role as a bridge between human rights in Scotland and the international human rights system. We share our experiences with counterparts in other countries and we bring back good practice from elsewhere to support work to realise human rights here in Scotland.

We are accredited as an “A Status” national human rights institution within the United Nations (UN) system. This means we can report directly to the UN on human rights issues. It also puts us in a unique position in Scotland – we are the only Scottish organisation that can make direct contributions to the UN Human Rights Council on issues affecting people here.

The Commission is proud to play its part in helping build a better Scotland and a better world, where human rights are enjoyed by all people.

Heads of institution

Part-time Members of the Commission: Claire Methven O’Brien, Jim Farish, Shelley Gray

Executive Director/Accountable Officer: Jan Savage



Bridgeside House
99 McDonald Road

Year of establishment


Accreditation status


Year of accreditation


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Regional offices



  • Monitoring body under CRPD Art 33(2)
  • National Preventive Mechanism under OPCAT Art. 3 (NPM)

Core functions

  • Monitoring
  • Publishing research, recommendations and opinions
  • Reporting to international and regional human rights mechanisms
  • Advising government, parliament and other public bodies
  • Supporting the work of human rights defenders
  • Cooperation with civil society organisations
  • Human rights education and training
  • Awareness raising activities