Human Rights and Equalities
Human rights and equalities are important to the Inquiry and will be taken into account throughout its work. Paragraph 6(b) of the Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry’s Terms of Reference explicitly refers to human rights, even though this does not appear in terms of reference for many inquiries. Paragraph 6(c) of the Terms of Reference refers to unequal impacts on people, and so includes consideration of inequalities arising from the handling of the pandemic.
The Inquiry is independent. Fairness is of the utmost importance and will underpin the Inquiry’s decisions about its procedure and conduct. The Inquiry will report in a reasonable time.
When we are investigating the 12 areas in our Terms of Reference, we will consider ways in which the handling of the pandemic had an adverse effect on the exercise of human rights where appropriate. The Inquiry has no power to determine any person’s civil or criminal liability, including whether particular human and equality rights have been violated in individual cases. But when the inquiry makes findings about lessons learned, it will consider adverse effects on the exercise of human rights and equality issues where relevant.
The Inquiry will also ensure that the way in which the Inquiry carries out its work complies with human rights and equalities legislation.