20 November 2017
Immediate Release 
31 groups have submitted evidence to the Joint Committee of Human Rights outlining their shared concerns about the protection of human rights in the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. Groups, including Human Rights Watch, Liberty, National Union of Students, Women’s Aid (England), Disability Wales and Children in Scotland, submitted the evidence ahead of the next House of Commons Committee stage day on the Withdrawal Bill on Tuesday 21 November. A key item for discussion will be amendments on the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which, in the Bill’s current form, will be excluded from the UK law on exit day. 
Coordinated by the British Institute of Human Rights, the evidence submission states that the Withdrawal Bill, as it stands, will mean a loss of rights and accountability for people in the UK, notably:
  • People’s fundamental human rights and equality protections: despite the government’s stated intention for the Withdrawal Bill to maintain the status quo, a number of rights have either been explicitly excluded or it is not clear how minimum standards of protection will be ensured; and
  • Parliamentary scrutiny: the Bill’s provisions for amending transposed EU law vest significant power in ministers rather than parliament, with its associated processes for scrutiny and consideration of the views of civil society.

It concludes that:

“Ultimately, exiting the EU should not lead to less protection of people’s rights; the standards of protection should be equivalent to the current position, and where possible the opportunity to provide additional (not different) rights protections should be taken.”

ENDS

  • BIHR is a UK-wide charity working to bring human rights to life by supporting people and organisations to know, use and protect human rights. For a spokesperson please call 0207 882 5850 or email [email protected]
  • You can follow the concern of civil society groups using #BringOurRightsHome.
  • Full text of the submission, available here. The list of signatories:

•       The British Institute of Human Rights
•       Amnesty International UK
•       Anti-Slavery International
•       Article 39
•       Child Rights Alliance England (CRAE)
•       Children in Scotland
•       Disability Wales
•       End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW)
•       Equal Rights Trust
•       Fife Centre for Equalities
•       Howard League for Penal Reform
•       Human Rights Watch
•       Humanists UK
•       INQUEST
•       Just Fair
•       JUSTICE
•       Liberty
•       Migrants Resource Centre
•       NAT (National AIDS Trust)
•       National Survivor User Network (NSUN)
•       National Union of Students
•       NAWO (National Association of Women's Organisations)
•       OPAAL (UK)
•       René Cassin
•       Southall Black Sisters
•       The Traveller Movement
•       Together - Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights
•       UNISON
•       Unlock Democracy
•       Women's Aid Federation of England
•       Women's Budget Group