Cole-Hamilton calls for Scottish Human Rights Commission inquiry into Covid ID cards

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today written to the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) to ask them to begin a statutory inquiry into whether the Scottish Government are in breach of equality laws over the implementation of its Covid ID card scheme, scheduled to come into force on 1st October.

Various human rights organisations, including the SHRC, have aired concerns about the SNP/Green Government’s failure to provide evidence that Covid ID cards are either necessary or effective, and that they therefore may breach human rights.

Mr Cole-Hamilton also shared the letter with the Scottish Committee of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission after concerns were raised about the failure to engage with minorities likely to be most affected by the policy.

The SHRC say this includes “people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, people from certain ethnic minority communities, refugees and people seeking asylum”. This is in line with figures published by Public Health Scotland, which show that 11.8% of white people are unvaccinated compared to 33.6% of those of African descent. 24.8% of those in the most deprived areas were unvaccinated compared to 17.1% in the least deprived areas.

Commenting on his letter, Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

“This is a hugely significant policy decision from the First Minister and it is one that goes against the very basic freedoms at the heart of our society.

“The SHRC previously warned that the Scottish Government would need to demonstrate Covid ID cards were necessary, proportionate and effective. In my view, none of these tests have been met.

“I have a real concern that these illiberal Covid ID cards will lead to ethnic minority Scots, young people and those from the most deprived areas being systematically excluded from public events and spaces.

“The SNP/Green Government are rushing this through and appear to have no intention to share evidence to back their plans up.

“I believe this is precisely the kind of situation where the Commission, set up by Labour and the Lib Dems should kick in. Their power to instruct an inquiry may be the only way to get behind the curtain on this.

“Ministers should be taking all the resources devoted to this cruel policy and using them in the ways we know tackle Covid-19 - testing, tracing and vaccinating.”

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