Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights


In 2013, Scotland’s first National Action Plan for Human Rights was launched, fulfilling key recommendations from both the United Nations and the Council of Europe. Known as SNAP, it was and remains the first and only such initiative in any part of the UK. Praised internationally for its collaborative, multi-stakeholder approach, SNAP has been cited regularly in reports to the United Nations on Scotland’s implementation of its international human rights obligations.

SNAP delivered over 50 actions in four years in areas as diverse as criminal justice, housing, health and social care. Actions included pilot projects to test human rights based approaches in practice; national innovation forums to spark creative action on complex human rights issues; and action research projects on specific rights concerns.

Many SNAP actions seeded longer term programmes of work that continue to drive improvements in Scotland’s human rights laws, policies and practices today. The current work of the National Taskforce on Human Rights Leadership can be traced back directly to SNAP action in this area. Making Rights Real, Scotland’s new grassroots human rights organisation, is firmly rooted in the Housing Rights in Practice pilot project pioneered through SNAP. A Reference Group of people with lived experience of poverty, first brought together as part of SNAP, now works with the Scottish Human Rights Commission on a permanent basis.

SNAP 2

Since late 2017, work has been taking place to develop detailed plans and proposals for Scotland’s second National Action Plan for Human Rights – SNAP 2. This work has drawn heavily on lessons identified from an independent evaluation of the first SNAP, as well as a National Participation Process involving over 1,000 people. Planning has been led by a Development Working Group of around 15 people from civil society and the public sector. Detailed proposals for SNAP 2 were published for wider engagement in autumn 2019, with broadly widespread and positive feedback received, as well as areas for refinement and improvement. 

We are currently recruiting a SNAP Secretariat Lead for an initial period of nine months. This new role is funded by the Scottish Government and will be hosted by the Scottish Human Rights Commission on an interim basis. This will be the first step in establishing a full independent SNAP 2 Secretariat to support ongoing development, implementation and monitoring of actions. Find out more on the Scottish Human Rights Commission’s website.

Read the SNAP Year One Report

Read the SNAP Year Two Report

Read the SNAP Year Three Report and Case Studies