Human rights policy based on solid evidence: Scotland and Turkey reflect on their experiences

Ankara 23 July 2020
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Human rights policy based on solid evidence: Scotland and Turkey reflect on their experiences

Turkey just concluded its third round of peer-to-peer exchange regarding the development and implementation of National Action Plans for Human Rights. This time, the experience of Scotland within the United Kingdom was at the centre of attention.


“Our vision is the one of an Action Plan that is based on solid evidence, looking at many different expert sources – especially people with lived experience of human rights issues,” explained Alison Hosie, Research Officer at the Scottish Human Rights Commission. Widely recognised for its innovative nature, this approach has enabled Scotland to identify pressing local priorities, propose solutions, and to build strong momentum to move forward with its successive Action Plans.


Selim Doğanay, Deputy Head of the Department of Human Rights of the Turkish Ministry of Justice, concurred with this view, emphasising the need to think practically and focus on problem-solving and impact, rather than seeking “silver bullet” solutions. Representing an audience of several experts working on Turkey’s forthcoming National Action Plan, he also conveyed that Turkey’s forthcoming Action Plan will be broad in scope and ambition, entailing a series of consultations and covering both European and international treaty obligations.


International experience suggests that National Action Plans for Human Rights are most effective when they are evidence-based – with research and participation informing priorities for action – as well as realistic, taking into account the work of public authorities and available resources.


The Action on “Supporting the implementation and reporting on the Action Plan on Human Rights in Turkey,” which is implemented by the Council of Europe under the joint European Union/Council of Europe programme “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022,” aims at strengthening the skills of the Turkish Ministry of Justice in relation to the implementation of Human Rights Action Plans.