BIHR Annual Conference 2011

BIHR Annual Conference


Human Rights at Home: an agenda for fairness


Tuesday 29th March 2011


Central Hall, Westminster, Storey's Gate, Westminster, London, SW1H 9NH


BIHR’s Annual Conference, Human Rights At Home: An Agenda for Fairness took place on the 29th March 2011.  For one day, Central Hall, Westminster was the nerve-centre for those exploring human rights and their role in UK society. It was a huge success with over 150 people from across the UK gathering to share learning, ideas and inspiration.   

In a session chaired by Prof Francesca Klug OBE, the innovative and often untold stories of how the Human Rights Act is a force for good were told by a diverse and distinguished panel. Our panellists included Alan Miller from the Scottish and Human Rights Commission, Anne Hudson from Langley Park School for Girls, Dessie Donelly from the Participation and Practice of Rights Project, Saimo Chahal from Bindmans LLP, Sanchita Hosali from BIHR and John Wadham from the Equality and Human Rights Commission. 

Following on this unique testimony about human rights realities in the ten years since the passing of the Human Rights Act, the conference was pleased to welcome Lord McNally. The Minister of Justice with responsibility for human rights gave one of his first public addresses since the launch of the government's Commission to investigate a UK Bill of Rights earlier in the month.

Human Rights on the Line!

Delegates warmly welcomed Lord McNally's opening comments that "at a time when the concept of human rights in legislation is under attack my simple message to you all is to stand up and speak up for human rights". Lord McNally congratulated BIHR on celebrating our 40th anniversary and noted that our 41st year will see us needed as never before. 

Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC, Chairperson of BIHR and founder of Bindmans LLP added gravitas and a sense of history to the development of human rights law and practice in the UK over the last 40 years. Exposing much of the media and political hostility to human rights, Geoffrey called on delegates to proudly stand with BIHR to uphold our human rights protections. The day culminated with an inspiring address from BIHR’s Director, Stephen Bowen, who said we must recognise that human rights in the UK has been the victim of a failure of political leadership. He called for all sensible people to join the growing chorus of voices in defence of our rights. 

Taking up the challenge to take action, BIHR staff and delegates got creative, showing the threat to UK human rights by putting "Human Rights on the Line”.

The event was attended by leaders and policy staff from public bodies including local and national government; by representatives of national charities and smaller voluntary and community organisations; and by media professionals and students and academics in the field. The day was a huge success, showing that the Human Rights Act is a practical force for good which ensures we are all treated with fairness and dignity. 

Read about BIHR’s position on the threat to the Human Rights Act and our response to the recently announced Commission on a UK Bill of Rights.


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