Defending the Human Rights Act, including current Bill of Rights Debates

Background

BIHR has a unique focus on human rights as they affect people in the UK in their everyday lives. We work to tackle some of the myths circulating about human rights and, from our experience of working with the voluntary and public sectors, highlight how the Act has helped transform ordinary people's daily lives. These individuals' stories often go unreported by the mainstream media and are rarely acknowledged by key critics of the Human Rights Act. But these stories are important because they show the Human Rights Act in a different light which is often not reported - as a British creation that has breathed new life into long-held values like dignity, fairness and respect. On the basis of our experience, BIHR strongly opposes calls to scrap or weaken the Act as this would mean that ordinary people would lose the important protection human rights offers.

BIHR's work in this area includes:

Government's Green Paper Rights and Responsibilities
• BIHR's response to the publication of the Government's Green Paper Rights and Responsibilities: Developing our constitutional framework (April 2009)

BIHR's and the Joint Committee on Human Rights Inquiry into a Bill of Rights
BIHR's evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights call for supplementary evidence as part of its Bill of Rights Inquiry (July 2009)
BIHR's evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights inquiry into a British Bill of Rights (August 2007)

BIHR's 2008 - 2009 Lunchtime Lecture Series
• Threats to Civil Liberties: Chris Huhne MP, Shadow Secretary of State for the Home Department gave the Liberal Democrats' perspective on a Bill of Rights and Responsibilities and discussed their own Freedom Bill, on 5 May 2009. Read the transcript of his lecture here.
• Read BIHR's response to Chris Huhne's lecture here.
• Perspectives on a Bill of Rights and Responsibilities: Justice Minister Michael Wills MP gave his first public speech since the publication of the Government's Green Paper on Rights and Responsibilities, on 21 April 2009. Read the transcript here.
• Read BIHR's response to Michael Wills' lecture here.
• Rights without Responsibilities - A Decade of the Human Rights Act: Nick Herbert MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, delivered the BIHR lecture, in association with the British Library, on 24 November 2008. Read the transcript here.
• Read BIHR's response to Nick Herbert's lecture here.

BIHR's The Human Rights Act - Changing Lives (second edition, 2008)

BIHR believes that human rights can be used to improve the delivery of public services and as a tool for achieving social change more broadly. Based on evidence from our training and capacity building on the UK Human Rights Act, and the work of others, Changing Lives documents real life examples of how human rights and the HRA can make a difference to people in their everyday lives.

JUSTICE Bill of Rights consultation
• BIHR submission to the Justice Bill of Rights Consultation (June 2007)

BIHR Media Briefing: Defending human rights (2006)
This briefing tackles some of the myths circulating about human rights and, from BIHR's experience of working with the voluntary and public sectors, highlight how the Act has helped transform ordinary people's daily lives. These individuals' stories often go unreported by the mainstream media, but they are important because they show the Human Rights Act in a different light.

Something for Everyone: the impact of the Human Rights Act on disadvantaged groups (December 2002)
Read the Executive Summary here.
Read the Final Report here.

 

Published: October 1, 2009

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