On Human Rights Day, Chief Executives of 157 organisations across the UK signed an open letter from the British Institute of Human Rights, published in The Times, calling on our political leaders to “stand with the Human Rights Act recognising it is the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights made law here at home.”

The organisations, which represent people from all walks of life - carers, people seeking asylum, disabled people, children, Gypsy Travellers, people living with cancer and other health conditions, people living in poverty - joined with BIHR in celebrating "the often overlooked everyday differences our Human Rights Act makes for people across the UK."

The letter notes:

"Today is Human Rights Day. Across the globe, people are celebrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This international Magna Carta for all humanity has inspired so much, including our own Human Rights Act.

Today we celebrate the often overlooked everyday differences our Human Rights Act makes for people across the UK. Our examples are many, whether this is supporting children to access education, stopping inhuman treatment of older people, providing refugees with safety, preventing discrimination, or offering justice for victims and families failed by the system, and many more. 

Today we celebrate how our Human Rights Act strengthens our democracy, giving everyone a voice, and ensuring the powerful do not go unchecked. 

Today we celebrate how our Human Rights Act does more than defend our traditional liberties. It makes the universal human rights we share with people across the world part of our law here at home. 

Today the future of human rights in the UK is uncertain. Today we stand with the Human Rights Act recognising it is the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights made law here at home. We urge our political leaders to stand with us."

Stephen Bowen, Director of the British Institute of Human Rights, said:

"As Human Rights Day is celebrated across the globe and around the country, this is an opportunity for us to reflect on the progress made at home on human rights, this year being the 15th anniversary of our own Human Rights Act. I am delighted that scores of organisations across the UK have joined with us to speak up for the importance of our Human Rights Act. At a time when our human rights at home risk being unravelled by the government policy to ‘scrap’ the law and replace it with a 'British Bill of Rights', today’s letter from civil society to our political leaders is a timely reminder that our Human Rights Act is based on the universal human rights that protect us all, and which are being celebrated around the world today."

You can read the letter here. The list of signatories is below:

Stephen Bowen, Director, British Institute of Human Rights

(In alphabetical order by organisation)

Fiona Bawdon, Caoilfhionn Gallagher, Martha Spurrier, Director, Act for the Act Campaign

Gary Fitzgerald, Chief Executive, Action on Elder Abuse

Paul Breckell, Chief Executive, Action on Hearing Loss

Steve Johnson, Chief Executive, Advice UK

Justine Hodgkinson, Chief Executive, Advocacy Focus

Rachel Rowlands, Chief Executive, Age Connects Morgannwg

Dean Richards, Chief Executive, Age Connects Neath Port Talbot

Karen Crane, Chief Executive, Age Connects North East Wales

Brian Sloan, Chief Executive, Age Scotland

Matthew Evans, Director, AIRE Centre

Joe Powell, National Director, All Wales People First

Neil Campbell, Chief Executive, Alternative Futures Group

Kate Allen, Director, Amnesty International UK

Jeff Hawkins, Chairman Age Connects Wales, and Chief Executive Age Connects Cardiff and the Vale

Katy Sanderson, General Manager, Arcadea

Shaminder Ubhi, Director, Ashinana Network

Wayne Myslik, Chief Executive, Asylum Aid

Ewan Roberts, Centre Manager, Asylum Link

Dann Kenningham, National Coordinator, ATD Fourth World

Donna Covey, Director, AVA (Against Violence and Abuse)

Priscilla Nkwenti, Chief Executive, BHA for Equality

Elizabeth Prochaska, Chair, Birthrights

Asif Afridi, Deputy Chief Executive, BRAP

Andrew Copson, Chief Executive, British Humanist Association

Ann Chivers, Chief Executive, British Institute of Learning Disabilities

Brian Gormally, Director, CAJ

Maurice Frankel, Director, Campaign for Freedom of Information

Helena Herklots, Chief Executive, Carers UK

Dr Philip McCarthy, Chief Executive, Caritas Social Action Network

Alison Garnham, Chief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group

Tam Baillie, Commissioner, Children and Young People’s Commission Scotland

Peter Newell, Coordinator, Children are unbeatable! Alliance

Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner, Children's Commission for England

Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner, Children's Commission for Wales

Louise King and, Carla Garnelas, Co-Directors, Children's Rights Alliance for England

Jim Bowen, Manager, Clynfyw Care Farm

Jatin Haria, Executive Director, Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights

Derith Powell, Chief Executive Officer, Community Development Cymru 

Catherine Rayner, Chair, Discrimination Law Association

Martyn Jones, Chief Executive, Diverse Cymru

Leigh Daynes, Director, Doctors of the World

Carol Boys, Chief Executive, Down's Syndrome Association

Sarah Green, Director, End Violence against Women

Jo Glanville, Director, English PEN

Bharti Patel, Chief Executive, EPCAT UK

Dimitrina Petrova, Executive Director, Equal Rights Trust

Ali Harris, Chief Executive, Equality and Diversity Forum

Jacqui Hunt, Director, Equality Now

Jago Russell, Chief Executive, Fair Trials

Mustafa Field MBE, Director, Faiths Forum for London

Cathy Ashley, Director, Family Rights Group

Sam Smethers, Chief Executive, Fawcett Society

Susan Munroe, Chief Executive, Freedom from Torture

Peter Roscoe, Chair, FRESh

Chris Whitwell, Director, Friends, Families and Travellers

Nik Noone, Chief Executive, GALOP

Henry Blaxland QC, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers

Terry Reed OBE, Co-Founder, Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES)

Gillian Caldwell, Executive Director, Global Witness

Lucy Peake, Chief Executive, Grandparents Plus

Bella Kosmala, Coordinator, Greenwich Migrant Hub

Helen Hibberd, Centre Manager, Hackney Migrant Centre

Prof Cornelius Katona, Medical Director, Helen Bamber Foundation

Alison Gelder, Chief Executive, Housing Justice

Frances Crook, Chief Executive, Howard League for Penal Reform

Dr Damien Short and Dr Corinne Lennox, Director and Associate Director, Human Rights Consortium

Kevin Hanratty, Director, Human Rights Consortium

David Mepham, Director, Human Rights Watch

Simon Hancock, Board Equality Champion, Hywel Dda University Health Board

Theo Gavrielides, Founder & Director, IARS International Institute

Marai Larasi, Executive Director, Imkaan

Imran Khan, Partner, Imran Khan and Partners

Deborah Coles and Helen Shaw, Co-Directors, INQUEST

Sarah Khan and Kalsoom Bashir, Director, Inspire Women

Saira Grant, Chief Executive, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants

Shauneen Lambe, Executive Director, Just for kids Law

Alyas Karmani, Interim Director, JUST West Yorkshire

Andrea Coomber, Director, JUSTICE

Kate Roberts, Head of Policy, Kalayaan

Julie Bishop, Director, Law Centres Network

Steve Hynes, Director, Legal Action Group

Nicola Mackintosh QC (Hon) and Jenny Beck, Co-Chairs, Legal Aid Practitioners Group (LAPG)

Paul Roberts, Chief Executive, LGBT Consortium

Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive, LGBT Foundation

Shami Chakrabarti, Director, Liberty

Eithne Rynne, Chief Executive, London Voluntary Service Council

Phillip Watson, Chief Executive, Manor Gardens Welfare Trust

Theresa Schleicher, Acting Director, Medical Justice

Jenny Edwards CBE, Chief Executive, Mental Health Foundation

Zrinka Bralo, Executive Director, Migrant and Refugee Community Forum

Don Flynn, Director, Migrant Rights Network

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Mind

Deborah Gold, Chief Executive, NAT

Des Kelly, Executive Director, National Care Forum

Rob Greig, Chief Executive, National Development Team for Inclusion

Sarah Yiannoullou, National Director, National Survivor User Network

Megan Dunn, President, National Union of Students

Jeremy Taylor, Chief Executive, National Voices

Zarin Hainsworth, Chair, NAWO

Patrick Yu, Executive Director, NICEM

Colin Devine, Coordinator, North West Community Network

Sean Silver, Chair, Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council

Koulla Yiasouma, Commissioner, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People

Sarah Rochira, Older People's Commissioner for Wales, Older People's Commission for Wales

Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive, Patients Association

Karen Chandler, Chief Officer, Pembrokeshire People First

Sally Daghlian OBE, Chief Executive, Praxis

Juliet Lyon, Director, Prison Reform Trust

Andy Gregg, Chief Executive, Race on the Agenda

Rita Chadha, Chief Executive, RAMFEL

Carla Ferstman, Director, REDRESS

Maurice Wren, Chief Executive, Refugee Council

Mia Hasenson-Gross, Director, Rene Cassin

Clare Algar, Chief Executive, Reprieve

Emma Scott, Director, Rights of Women

Yasmine Ahmed, Director, Rights Watch UK

Mark Fish, Director, Room to Heal

Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive, Royal College of Midwives

Janet Davies, Chief Executive, Royal College of Nursing

Omar Khan, Director, Runnymede Trust

Shoaib M Khan, Senior Partner, S&S Immigration Law

Barbara Natasegara MBE, Chief Executive, Safer Wales Ltd

Marjorie Wallace, Chief Executive, SANE

Mark Atkinson, Chief Executive, Scope

Eamon Keane, Convenor, Scottish Legal Action Group

Durrah Mahmood, Trustee Secretary, Songololo Feet

Pragna Patel, Director, Southall Black Sisters

Jan Gavin, Chief Executive, Southern Advocacy Services

Jon Barrick, Chief Executive, Stroke Association

Heidi Travis, Chief Executive, Sue Ryder

Joy Hibbins, Founder/Co-Director, Suicide Crisis

Kolbassia Haoussou, Co-ordinator, Survivors Speak OUT

Dr Ngoyi Barthelemy Malumba, Managing Director, Tameside Human Rights Watch and UK Immigration Services

Prof Katja Ziegler, Director, the Centre of European Law and Internationalisation (CELI)

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive, the Children's Society

Annette Lawson, Chair, the Judith Trust

Anna Gaughan, Chief Executive, the Life Story Network

Juliet Harris, Director, Together - Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights

Frances O'Grady, General Secretary, Trade Union Congress

Penelope Gibbs, Director, Transform Justice

Yvonne MacNamara, Chief Executive Officer, Traveller Movement

Martin Coyle, Director, True Voice

Paul Dillane, Executive Director, UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group

Alan Anstead, Coordinator, UK Race and Europe Network

Dave Prentis, General Secretary, UNISON

Dianna Holland, Assistant General Secretary, Unite

Natalie Samarasinghe, Executive Director, United Nations Association - UK

Michele Lamb, Head of Department Social Sciences, University of Roehampton and Crucible Centre for Human Rights

Alexandra Runswick, Director, Unlock Democracy

Kunle Olulode, Director, Voice4Change

Mike Sherriff, Chief Executive, Voluntary Action Islington

Sally Baker, Director, Wales PEN Cymru

Eleri Butler, Chief Executive, Welsh Women’s Aid

Joyce Kallevik, Director, Wish

Jonathan Toye, Chief Executive, WNDiS (West Norfolk Disability Information Service)

Polly Neate, Chief Executive, Women's Aid

Annie Campbell, Chief Executive, Women's Aid Federation Northern Ireland

Vivienne Hayes, Chief Executive, Women's Resource Centre

Oliver Carter and Rachel Francis, Co-Chairs, Young Legal Aid Lawyers