COMMENT & ANALYSIS News and Media News "Too much at stake" BIHR on the Human Rights Act at Liberal Democrat Conference PRESS RELEASE 12 March 2016 The British Institute of Human Rights to address York conference on Saturday The Deputy Director of the British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) will be in York on Saturday to tell a conference that there is too much at stake to scrap the Human Rights Act (HRA), as the government wants to do. Sanchita Hosali will speak at the Liberal Democratic Party conference at the York Novotel Hotel on Saturday evening of her concern that with so much political spin and talk of legal technicalities, people may not realise just how much protection the HRA gives them, how it is working away quietly in the background in important ways, protecting people in everyday life and actually helping public bodies to do their work. They also may not realise that the government itself is held to account by the HRA so we should be very wary of any government plans to change the rules. The government has promised a formal consultation process over repealing the HRA, although no clear date has been set. But BIHR continues to meet people all over the UK, helping them to understand and make the most of their human rights. The small charity, based in London, also works with public services and voluntary organisations to help them make human rights part of their work. Says Sanchita Hosali: "There is no reason to scrap the Human Rights Act but a great many reasons not to, including the difference that it has made to the lives of so many ordinary people and the dangerous signal that the UK, with its proud history in shaping human rights, would send to other countries. "Human rights are about the protections that every single one of us should receive and our ability to make sure those with power do not cross the line, and hold them to account when they do – whether that is getting justice for the families who lost loved ones at Hillsborough, stopping young disabled people being sent to live 100s of miles from their families or making sure people with dementia are treated with dignity. Our work at the British Institute of Human Rights also shows how the Human Rights Act is important for those working in the public sector – far from tying them up in red tape, helping them do their jobs better. "The Human Rights Act is the Bill of Rights we already have. The government might not like everything about it but that’s to be expected, because it’s about setting the rules for how they treat all of us. We cannot get into a situation where whenever the government of the day finds it expedient to do so they can replace the Bill of Rights with one that suits them better. "Scrapping the Human Rights Act is something that should worry us all because it is the one UK law which enables any one of us to hold the government and public officials to account when they overstep the mark. ENDS Notes to Editors For a BIHR spokesperson please contact Helen Wildbore email@example.com / 0207 882 5851. Out of hours: 07598 441150 The details of the conference are: Liberal Democrat Party Spring Conference York, Mega Meeting Fringe “The Human Rights Act and the British Bill of Rights” Saturday 12 March 6.15pm, Novotel York, Fewster Way, Fishergate YO10 4FD. The Fringe event is being chaired by Graham Colley (Chair of Lib Dem Lawyers Association) and other speakers are Alistair Carmichael MP and Sir Simon Hughes. For more information about the Party Conference visit: libdems.org.uk/spring-conference The British Institute of Human Rights is an independent charity working across the UK to support people to know what human rights are (and are not), working with the public sector and community groups to use human rights in practice, and to ensure those with power respect and progress human rights laws at home through policy and campaigns. For more information visit bihr.org.uk For information About BIHR watch this film, to hear about the impact of the Human Rights Act from people in the public and voluntary sector watch this short video, and to understand the Human Rights Act in Two Minutes with this film.