Parades commission ‘not necessary’ in Scotland
A Northern Ireland-style parades commission is not necessary in Scotland, according to a new Scottish government report.
The creation of a commission was mooted last year after police made arrests at a series of Orange walks in Glasgow.
A working group on peaceful assemblies in Scotland has said, however, that there was “no present need” for such a body, our sister publication Scottish Legal News reports.
A further 17 recommendations put forward by the working group include:
- Improving the notification process around marches – ensuring relevant information is available for communities
- Improving the facilitation and regulation of processions by making sure people’s human rights continue to be upheld
- Reducing the need for public order policing
Key partners, including the Scottish government, the City of Edinburgh Council, Glasgow City Council, Police Scotland, COSLA and human rights experts will now come together to consider the report recommendations and agree the best way forward.
Scotland’s justice secretary Keith Brown said: “Marching, parading and protesting is of great importance to many people in Scotland for cultural, community and political reasons.
“The Scottish government fully recognises this and is committed to freedom of speech and to upholding the human rights of those seeking to participate in such events. But in doing this we must also ensure that the rights of those seeking to go about their business undisturbed are also protected. As such, a balance must be struck between protecting the rights of those who seek to march or protest and those of the communities impacted by such events.
“I am very grateful to the working group for their dedication and hard work in developing their report and recommendations, as well as to everyone who took the time to speak with group to give their experiences and expertise.
“We will continue to hold meaningful and productive dialogue with march and parade organisers, community representatives, Police Scotland and local authorities to ensure that, collectively, we continue to work towards achieving the correct balance of right for all.”
Chair of the working group Dominic Bryan said: “Members of the working group were impressed with much of the work already undertaken by local authorities in sometimes challenging circumstances.
“We believe that our recommendations will offer a sustainable way forward for the facilitation and regulation of processions in Scotland reflecting important human rights considerations.”