SIAA has joined with other 26 organisations working for equality and human rights in Scotland to write to John Swinney expressing our “dismay” and “deep concerns” following the publication of the Scottish Government’s Terms of Reference for a public inquiry into the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland.
Evidence was previously presented by equalities groups and the Government that showed how the pandemic affected certain groups more relentlessly. However, the Scottish Government’s Terms of Reference currently make no reference to equality or human rights impacts stemming from the pandemic. Furthermore, these Terms of Reference don’t mention women, BAME communities, disabled people, LGBT+ People, older people, young people persons subject to No Recourse to Public Funds, and other groups who experienced the brunt of the pandemic.
The letter claims that the Scottish Government have not sufficiently prioritised equality and human rights in measures to respond the pandemic and as a result marginalised groups have been isolated even further from social and economic life. It also makes an urgent plea: “We urgently ask the Scottish Government to set out how it will correct this omission and ensure that the inquiry adopts an intersectional gender, equalities and human rights lens in order to understand and prevent future impacts for groups whose rights are most undermined”.