The Scottish Human Rights Commission has expressed its concern for students across the country who face restrictions on them in a bid to limit the transmission of coronavirus infection. 

A statement released today explained the potential human rights implications for students living in student accommodation, alone for the first time without family support, and without clear information regarding the restrictions.

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And the Commission has echoed calls for Scottish universities to ensure adequate support is available to students forced to self-isolate - stressing that many students will lack a support network in their university town or city.

The Commission's statement read: "The Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland has raised concerns around the human rights implications of current COVID-19 regulations for those students covered by his mandate – that is, students who are under 18, or who are under 21 and care experienced.

"We welcome his Position Statement, which details a number of human rights considerations and associated recommendations for the Scottish Government and university principals.

"In the Commission’s view, the issues set out in this statement apply to all students, and therefore also engage our mandate."

It comes after the Scottish Government released further guidance to clarify the additional legal restrictions that apply to students. 

"In addition to the issues raised by the Children and Young People’s Commissioner, the Commission is concerned that although the current COVID-19 legal restrictions apply equally across the population, they impact more severely on those living in student residences," the Commission has said.

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"As students and student representatives have pointed out, student residences are extremely poorly suited to quarantine arrangements, with multiple occupants living in close proximity and sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities.

"While the legal restrictions apply to the whole population, the impact of those restrictions will be felt more acutely by people living in this type of accommodation; this gives rise to human rights concerns specific to this population group.

The statement continued: "The Commission believes that questions as to whether it was appropriate to allow students, both Scottish and international, to take up places in student residences at this point in the pandemic, should be scrutinised by any future public inquiry."

The Scottish Human Rights Commission plans to provide further analysis of the situation facing students in the coming weeks.