Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard is urging an independent body to investigate whether the human rights of care home residents have been violated during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Leonard has written to the Scottish Human Rights Commission asking it to ensure that their human rights are upheld and defended.

He has asked it to look into decisions taken by the Scottish Government to identify any violations.

Mr Leonard said in his letter: "One of the greatest tragedies of Covid-19 is the impact on older people, particularly in care homes.

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"Over the last 10 weeks, Scotland's care homes, when compared with the previous five years, have had an 82% above average rate of death.

"Respecting the rights of our most vulnerable citizens should be paramount, particularly at a time of a national crisis and emergency.

"There should be consideration of whether decisions taken by the Scottish Government during the last three months have recognised and respected the human rights of care home residents."

The party leader also raised concerns over Scottish Government guidance to not admit residents to hospital and the ill-advised transfer of untested patients into care homes, highlighting that age is a protected characteristic by law.

Mr Leonard added: "With Scotland registering the highest level of Covid-19 care home deaths in the UK, and perhaps proportionately in the world, it is vital that we ensure that lessons are learnt to stop this ever happening again.

"Particularly, if there is a second wave of Covid-19, we must ensure that the rights of older people and adults in care homes are upheld.

"We cannot bring back the victims but we must seek answers to what went wrong and establish whether the rights of older people were compromised.

"The human rights of residents and staff working in Scotland's care homes must be respected."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "The loss of life in our care homes because of Covid-19 is a tragedy.

"Everyone who has died from this virus represents unique loved individuals whose loss is a source of grief to many people.

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"The Scottish Government has always placed the upholding of human rights at the heart of its approach and since the start of this pandemic our priority has been to save people's lives, wherever they live.

"We have taken firm action to protect care home staff and residents as far as is possible.

"The Scottish Government is not involved in taking decisions about individuals' care or the settings in which care is provided.

"A framework of legislation protects the rights of individuals receiving care and throughout this pandemic we have worked closely with our colleagues in the NHS, local government and the voluntary and independent sectors to ensure the needs and rights of residents in care homes are able to be met.

"Human rights are absolutely core to all our considerations.

"All our decisions on the Covid-19 response have been guided by the scientific advice available at the time and we continue to tailor that response as more is learned about the virus."