The debate over Scotland's future gives the country a unique opportunity to consider how all human rights can be protected in law, campaigners have said.
The Scottish Human Rights Commission has published a paper looking at the future of human rights in the context of next year's independence referendum.
While a number of rights are enshrined in constitutional law under the Scotland Act, the commission wants all economic, social and cultural rights, as well as rights for particular groups such as children, disabled people, women and ethnic minorities, to be given the same level of protection. This is "possible in any outcome of the referendum", the paper said.
Commission chair Professor Alan Miller said: "People in Scotland are entitled to hear from the campaigns, as well as all Scottish and UK political parties, on how their vision of Scotland's future brings internationally recognised human rights home to people.
"This is especially important given the increasing level of vulnerability many people are facing as a result of the global financial crisis. Human rights protect all of us but especially the most disadvantaged people in our society."
If the referendum leads to Scotland leaving the UK, all internationally recognised human rights could be protected by being included in a written constitution, or alternatively in either a charter or bill of rights, the paper said.
The UK has still not ratified a number of international human rights instruments, the commission pointed out, saying that "an independent Scotland should consider their ratification".
It said: "The breadth of modern international experience, as well as Scotland's own human rights journey to date, demonstrate that constitutional protection of human rights - civil, political, economic, social and cultural - is the most effective way of securing human rights in law and practice."
The "essential elements for a life of dignity and freedom" such as the right to health, education, food and water, and housing should be protected, the commission said.
About 60 countries, including Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland, have enshrined these rights in their constitutions.