What is SNAP?

SNAP is Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights. Its vision is a Scotland where everyone can live with human dignity.

In 1993, the United Nations’ Vienna Declaration introduced the concept of national human rights action plans.

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.

Scotland’s first SNAP (SNAP 1) was first launched on 10 December 2013, marking International Human Rights Day. Over the course of four years, more than 40 individuals and organisations worked together to achieve 50 actions.

Work is currently underway to develop Scotland’s second National Human Rights Action Plan – SNAP 2.

SNAP 2 will be a strategic plan of practical actions. It will be delivered in a collaborative, coordinated way by rights holders, civil society and the public sector. This will help Scotland fulfil its international human rights obligations. 

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