Richard Leonard has urged an independent body to investigate whether the human rights of care home residents have been violated throughout the Covid-19 crisis.
The Scottish Labour leader has written to the Scottish Human Rights Commission asking it to ensure that their human rights are upheld and defended.
He also asked it to look into decisions taken by the Scottish Government to determine whether their have been any violations.
Leonard said in his letter: “One of the greatest tragedies of Covid-19 is the impact on older people, particularly in care homes.
“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.
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.”