The Hate Crime Act

Equality and Human Rights

There is no place in a civilised society for any individual or public body to discriminate against any other individual or group in a way that is motivated by hostility or prejudice based on that person's identifiable protected characteristic as established in the Equality Act 2010.

Any such criminal activity to be effectively policed and prosecuted demands precision in law to delineate the defining attributes that could aggravate such criminality. Furthermore, any such legislation should incorporate a robust mechanism to test and establish criminal intent for its purposes.

We are concerned of the potential impact on established and protected freedoms from the Scottish Government’s Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021.

The legislation’s exclusion of ‘sex’ and ‘beliefs’ as protected characteristics and of the potential for state intrusion into fundamental freedoms and breaches of fundamental human rights. This includes, but is not limited to Articles 1, 6, 7, 8, 9 10, 11, 14 and 17 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to which the UK State is a signatory and where in Scotland, civil and political rights are protected by the Human Rights Act 1998 which underpins the provisions set out in the Scotland Act 1998.

ALBA calls for the Scottish Government to;

Protect and maintain equality before the law in line with the ECHR and extant Equality and Human Rights statute.

Postpone the operational introduction of the Hate Crime and Public Order Act (Scotland) Act 2021 until such times as it is amended.

In the absence of such amendments, it will be necessary for any incoming Scottish Government to repeal the Hate Crime and Public Order Act (Scotland) Act 2021 replacing it with legislation that is consistent with the ECHR and extant Equality and Human Rights legislation.