Victims' Rights

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 5:21 pm on 15th September 2005.

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Photo of Patrick Harvie Patrick Harvie Green 5:21 pm, 15th September 2005

I said that he is not gaining from his crime or his incarceration; he is being compensated for the violation of his human rights as the result of treatment that prisoners in Scotland are still experiencing and which should, by now, be history.

I accept the perceived injustice, but the motion implies an equal injustice. To award damages to victims on the basis of degrading treatment of prisoners is wrong. For one person to benefit financially because of the violation by the state of another's human rights would be every bit as ugly as the current situation that has been described.

I remind members that, quite rightly, the Executive will be legislating later this year to create a human rights commission. With human rights under sustained political threat in the United Kingdom and around the world, it is essential that we reinforce the culture of human rights in our society. Each of us, including those with whom we do not sympathise and cannot identify, must have a sense of ownership of the rights that are due to us. Reactive howls against perceived injustice will only strengthen the hand of those who would remove those rights from all of us.