As parliament votes on the Brexit Withdrawal Deal, 155 groups urge the Prime Minister to safeguard human rights home On the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the eve of the Brexit Withdrawal Deal vote in parliament, a letter urging the Prime Minister to safeguard human rights at home, has been issued by over 150 organisations from across the UK. The organisations include those working with new mothers, children, carers, people with learning disabilities and mental ill-health, women experiencing violence, migrants, older people, and groups campaigning for LGBTQ+ rights, fair trials, access to justice, decent housing and against racial discrimination. As the government grapples with the details of the Brexit withdrawal deal, facing potential defeat in the parliament tomorrow, the letter is being released on global Human Rights Day (Monday 10 December) to show the breadth of support for human rights across the UK. Coordinated by British Institute for Human Rights (BIHR), the letter is also supported by Amnesty International UK, Liberty, Justice and Human Rights Watch, together with a range of groups that represent people from all walks of life across the country. Sanchita Hosali, Director of BIHR, said: “The 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that Magna Carta for all humankind, should be a cause for celebration in the UK. These hard-won and enduring freedoms, which have been brought home through our own Human Rights Act, provide protection for everyone here at home, That is why over 150 groups have joined together to urge the Prime Minister to stand with us and ensure our rights are secured. As we face significant uncertainty around Brexit, now is the time to safeguard our human rights, needed as much today as when the world community set them down 70 years ago.” Dear Prime Minister Today, on Human Rights Day, we ask you to join us in celebrating universal human rights in the UK and commit to standing firm on our hard-won freedoms and protections. Created 70 years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone in human history. Following the horrors of World War II, the world community came together to say never again and set down the protections every person has simply because we are all human. Heralded as Magna Carta for all human kind, the UDHR has set a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, inspiring law and action across the world. Through the European Convention on Human Rights and our own Human Rights Act we have brought those rights home, making them real and meaningful for people everyday across the UK. 2019 marks another milestone in our history. As the UK prepares to exit the European Union, and uncertainty surrounds us, we ask you to ensure that our commitment to universal human rights at home remains strong and certain. Yours sincerely, Sanchita Hosali, Director, British Institute of Human Rights Laura Tween, Director, Able Hands Together C.I.C. Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Fiona Bawdon, Act for Act Gary Fitzgerald, CEO, Action on Elder Abuse Matthew Evans, Director, Advice on Individual Rights in Europe (AIRE Centre) Steve Johnson, Chief Executive, AdviceUK Justine Hodgkinson, Chief Executive, Advocacy Focus Jeff Hawkins, Chief Executive Officer, Age Connects Cardiff and the Vale Rachel Rowlands, Chief Executive Officer, Age Connects Morgannwg Jeff Hawkins, Chair, Age Connects Wales Joe Powell, National Director, All Wales People First Henry Simmons, Chief Executive, Alzheimer Scotland Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive Officer, Alzheimer's Society Kate Allen, Director, Amnesty International UK Lynne Tammi, National Co-ordinator, Article 12 in Scotland Carolyne Willow, Director, Article 39 Yasmin Bukhari, Chair, Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA) Ewan Roberts, Centre Manager, Asylum Link Merseyside Donna Covey CBE, Chief Executive, AVA (Against Violence and Abuse) Priscilla Nkwenti, Chief Executive Officer, BHA for Equality in Health and Social Care Ben Higgins, CEO, BILD (British Institute of Learning Disabilities) Amy Gibbs, CEO, Birthrights Asif Afridi, Deputy CEO, brap Tom Hore, Director, Bristol Mind Dr Ruth Allen, CEO, British Association of Social Workers Maurice Frankel, Director, Campaign for Freedom of Information Emily Holzhausen OBE, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Carers UK Caroline Morris, Co-Director, Centre for Small States, QMUL Harriet Wistrich, Director, Centre for Women’s Justice Malgosia Fitzmaruice, Jessie Hohmann, Violeta Moreno-Lax, Co-Directors, Centre for European and International Legal Affairs (CEILA) QMUL Jayne Leeson MBE, CEO, Changing Our Lives Isabelle Guitard, Director, Child Soldiers International Amy Woodhouse, Head of Policy, Projects and Participation, Children in Scotland Sean O’Neill, Policy Director, Children in Wales – Plant Yng Nghymru Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Children’s Commissioner for Wales Louise King, Director, Children’s Rights Alliance for England, part of Just for Kids Law Simon Topham, Chief Executive Officer, Citizens Advice York Jim Bowden, Managing Director, Clynfyw CIC Care Farm Jatin Haria, Executive Director, Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (Scotland) Brian Gormally, Director, Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) Dr Carol Homden CBE, Chief Executive, Coram Rhian Davies, Chief Executive, Disability Wales/Anabledd Cymru Catherine Rayner, Chair, Discrimination Law Association Catherine Baker, Senior Research, Policy and Campaigns Officer, ECPAT UK (Every Child Protected Against Trafficking) Anna Henry, Director, End Corporal Punishment Ali Harris, Chief Executive, Equality and Diversity Forum Jim Fitzgerald and Joanna Whiteman, Co-Directors, Equal Rights Trust Alex Mik, Campaigns and Networks Director, Fair Trials Jonathan Hyams, Secretary, Fairness, Respect, Equality Shropshire (FRESh) Ltd Cathy Ashley, Chief Executive, Family Rights Group Emma Sangster, Coordinator, ForcesWatch Steve Crawshaw, Policy & Advocacy Director, Freedom from Torture, Freedom from Torture Sarah Mann, Director, Friends, Families & Travellers Marc Willers QC, Joint Head, Garden Court Chambers Lucy Peake, Chief Executive, Grandparents Plus Dr Richard Whitehead, Head of Psychology, Head of Psychology, Mersey Care NHS Trust Ian Welsh OBE, Chief Executive, Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE) Kerry Smith, CEO, Helen Bamber Nathan Sparling, Chief Executive, HIV Scotland Frances Crook, Chief Executive, Howard League for Penal Reform Geraldine Van Bueren QC, Director, Human Rights Collegium Kevin Hanratty, Director, Human Rights Consortium Benjamin Ward, Acting UK Director, Human Rights Watch Gordon MacRae, Chief Executive, Humanist Society Scotland Andrew Copson, CEO, Humanists UK Henrietta Doyle, Policy Officer, Inclusion London Deborah Coles, Director, INQUEST Dr Thomas MacManus, Acting Director, International State Crime Initiative Phanuel Mutumburi, Director, Ipswich & Suffolk Council for Racial Equality Laura Ridley, Chair, Jersey Cares; Refugee Aid Group Satbir Singh, CEO, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) Annette Lawson, Chair, Judith Trust Jamie Burton, Chair, Just Fair Nadeem Murtuja, Head of Policy and Change, JUST Yorkshire Andrea Coomber, Director, Justice Lucila Granada, Director, Latin American Women's Rights Service Julie Bishop, Director, Law Centres Network Alan Hunter, Chief Executive, Law Society of Northern Ireland Alison Atack, President, Law Society of Scotland Vicky Buckingham, Lucy Burke, Alicia Wood, Representative Body Co Chairs, Learning Disability England Steve Hynes, Director, Legal Action Group Nicola Mackintosh QC (Hon), Jenny Beck, Co-Chairs, Legal Aid Practitioners Group (LAPG) Sean Humber, Head of Human Rights, Leigh Day Solicitors Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive, LGBT foundation Corey Stoughton, Acting Director, Liberty Anna Gaughan, Chief Executive, Life Story Network Paula Twigg, Centre Director, Mary Ward Legal Centre Emma Ginn, Director, Medical Justice Sarah Jones, CEO, Mencap Liverpool Zrinka Bralo, Chief Executive, Migrants Organise Wayne Myslik, Chief Executive, Migrants Resource Centre Paul Farmer, CEO, Mind Teresa Jennings, CEO, n|compass northwest Deborah Gold, Chief Executive, NAT (National AIDS Trust) Zarin Hainsworth, Chair, National Alliance of Women's Organisations Paul Marshall, Chief Executive, National Development Team for Inclusion Stephanie Taylor King, Communications, National Survivor User Network (NSUN) Zamzam Ibrahim, Vice President Society and Citizenship, National Union of Students Anjona Roy, Chief Executive, Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council Mairead McCafferty, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People Les Allamby, Chief Commissioner, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission Heléna Herklots CBE, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales Peter Dawson, Director, Prison Reform Trust Jo Hickam, Director, Public Law Project Paul Parker, Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain Andy Gregg, Chief Executive, Race On The Agenda Sally Bourton, Chair, RAY (Refugee Action York) James Tullett, Chief Executive, Refugee and Migrant Forum Essex & London (RAMFEL) Maurice Wren, Chief Executive, Refugee Council Mia Hasenson-Gross, Executive Director, René Cassin Rebecca Vincent, UK Bureau Director, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Alex Feis-Bryce, CEO, RightsInfo Estelle du Boulay, Director, Rights of Women Yasmin Ahmed, Director, Rights Watch UK Janine Tregelles, CEO, Royal Mencap Society Dr Omar Khan, Director, Runnymede Trust Richard Ashcroft, Head of Department, School of Law, Queen Mary University London Ceri Smith, Policy and Campaigns Manager, Scope Donald Macaskill, CEO, Scottish Care Eamon Keane, Convenor, Scottish Legal Action Group Anna Fowler, CEO, SCVO Shoaib M Khan, Human Rights Lawyer, SMK Law Solicitors Maia Kruger, Coordinator, Songololo Feet Pragna Patel, Director, Southall Black Sisters John Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, St Martin of Tours Housing Association Paul Twocock, Director of Campaigns, Policy and Research, Stonewall Heidi Travis, Chief Executive, Sue Ryder Audrey Ludwig, Director, Suffolk Law Centre Joy Hibbins, Chief Executive, Suicide Crisis Alicja Zalesinska, Director, Tai Pawb Nanor Kebranian, Co-Founder and Programme Director, The Centre for Law, Democracy, and Society (CLDS), QMUL Anna Henry, Director, The Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children Theo Gavrielides, Founder & Director, The IARS International Institute Karen Ingala Smith, Chief Executive, the nia project Yvonne MacNamara, CEO, The Traveller Movement Anna Gaughan, CEO, tide - together in dementia everyday Juliet Harris, Director, Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) Cate Tuitt, Trustee, Tower Hamlets Law Centre Leila Zadeh, Executive Director, UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group Alan Anstead, Coordinator, UK Race and Europe Network Dave Prentis, General Secretary, UNISON Bridget Warr CBE, Chief Executive, United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) Jeremie Gilbert, Professor of Human Rights Law, University of Roehampton Alexandra Runswick, Director, Unlock Democracy Tracey Sherlock, Executive Director of Policy & Communications, Welsh Refugee Council Eleri Butler, Chief Executive, Welsh Women’s Aid Jonathan Toye, Co-ordinator, West Norfolk Disability information Service (WNDiS) Karen Blair, Senior Multi Specialist Advocate, Wirral Advocacy Hub, n|compass advocacy Joyce Kallevik, Director, Wish Dr Kate Paradine, Chief Executive, Women in Prison Katie Ghose, Chief Executive, Women’s Aid Federation of England Vivienne Hayes MBE, CEO, Women's Resource Centre Liz Lockey, Co-ordinator, York Human Rights City Tom Doyle, Chief Executive, Yorkshire MESMAC Oliver Carter, Solicitor, Young Legal Aid Lawyers James Kenrick, Chief Executive, Youth Access ENDS Notes for Editors: For a BIHR spokesperson please contact Leonard Lewis 0207 882 5850 / [email protected] (out of office Sanchita Hosali 07811 457343). For over 45 years the British Institute of Human Rights, a UK-wide independent human rights charity, has worked to bring rights to life here at home. We help people to know what human rights are (and are not), to put their human rights into practice to achieve positive change in everyday life without resorting to the courts, and to make sure that those in power respect our human rights laws and systems. For more information visit www.bihr.org.uk, Twitter: @BIHRhumanrights Human Rights Day, on 10 December, marks the day in 1948 when the United Nations proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UK provided one of the eight drafters who, alongside US former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, produced the 30 Articles of the UDHR, recognising the “equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family”. The European Convention on Human Rights enforces many of the rights set out in the UDHR and the Human Rights Act (HRA) 1998 brings those rights home in the UK.