SNAP has both international and national origins.

International Beginnings

SNAP 2 will be published 30 years after the United Nations’ Vienna Declaration, where the concept of national human rights action plans was first introduced.

The Vienna Declaration makes multiple recommendations for countries to take action to bring human rights ‘closer to home’, moving them ‘off the page’ and into practice in people’s lives. One recommendation was that all countries should develop national human rights action plans as a practical way to strengthen the promotion and protection of people’s rights.  

At the time, this new concept was based on a view that lasting improvements in rights in any country was ultimately dependent on its government and people taking concrete action to bring about positive change. 

Since then, UN treaty bodies and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) have consistently recommended the adoption of national human rights action plans like SNAP. An estimated 140 national human rights action plans have been adopted in 75 countries. 35 countries, like Scotland, have adopted more than one plan.

In 2009, the Council of Europe (CoE) also recommended that national human rights action plans be used to systematically implement human rights by countries across Europe – a message the CoE repeated in 2017. 

National Origins

In Scotland, developing a national human rights action plan was first identified as a priority during the early years of the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC). The SHRC led a major research project to identify gaps in achieving human rights in Scotland. This was called ‘Getting it Right?’, and the report was published in 2012. This laid the groundwork for SNAP 1, which ran from 2013 to 2017.

End of page.