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The Right to be Heard! Making rights real with the Human Rights Bill Lived Experience Board 

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The Learning Disability and Human Rights Bill Lived Experience Board brings together a diverse group of people with learning disabilities to inform the new Human Rights Bill for Scotland

We are about to publish the first report from SCLD’s Lived Experience Board. The report will cover the first two blocks of the Board’s meetings, demonstrating the valuable input from the board and providing several recommendations to the Scottish Government. 

John C is one of the members of SCLD’s Lived Experience Board. In this blog, John shares his views on the importance of a new Human Rights Bill for Scotland, and the work of the Lived Experience Board so far… 

“I joined the Lived Experience Board because I am really passionate about human rights. I have a learning disability myself and want to help groups that help other people with learning disabilities. I feel that it’s important to meet other people with learning disabilities and to give them a chance to have a voice and speak up. I want us to be able to talk directly to the Scottish Government about our human rights and what needs to change.  

It is important to have a good Human Rights Bill for Scotland because it will make a positive difference for people with learning disabilities and for everyone. I think that a lot of people with learning disabilities don’t know their human rights. I know people who have said they don’t understand and that human rights scare and confuse them.

We need to know how to stand up for our human rights and the new Bill should help us do that. We want to be supported to stand up for our rights.  We all need to do more to support people with learning disabilities and to make sure the new Human Rights Bill does that. 

The Lived Experience Board is important because we have the opportunity to talk face-to-face with people who make decisions, and to make them understand exactly how human rights affect us. It is important to me that people with learning disabilities can tell the Scottish Government about what needs to change to make our lives better. For example, we all have the right to make our own decisions about our life, but this is often taken away from us.

“[W]e all have the right to make our own decisions about our life, but this is often taken away from us.”

The law doesn’t take into account our real life examples, and it doesn’t show how human rights affect our day to day lives. Another example is the impact that some things have, everyday tasks like taking electricity meter readings can cause big problems because companies do not give us accessible information. We have the right on paper to accessible information but companies are not made to provide it. How can we have control of our own lives if we don’t have the accessible information to help us?  

The Lived Experience Board has been really good because we have been able to speak out and talk about our concerns. It’s good to meet new friends and see how some of them had similar experiences and stories to me. It has also been really good to have someone from the Scottish Government at the meetings because I feel that people with learning disabilities don’t often get to speak directly to the government. This is important because we can tell them our exact experiences with human rights, we need to make them understand where we are coming from so we can get the changes we need in the Human Rights Bill.” 

John C  
Scottish Government Human Rights Bill Lived Experience Board Member

 

The report from the Human Rights Lived Experience Board will be available on the SCLD website later this week.