Internationally, it has been recognised that responding to Coronavirus raises concerns about the extent to which people's human rights will be upheld. 

The Secretary-General of the United Nations has said "human rights cannot be an afterthought in times of crisis — and we now face the biggest international crisis in generations ... human rights can and must guide COVID-19 response and recovery ... The message is clear:  People — and their rights — must be front and centre."



At BIHR our mission is to enable change through human rights by supporting people and organisations to use human rights advocacy and approaches in their everyday life to achieve positive social change. This mission has not changed during the pandemic, and if anything has become all the more important. 

At BIHR we work everyday with people, communities, staff on the frontline and policy makers. We know that a using a human rights lens for everyday decision-making and national law and guidance means everyone is seen and focuses us all on ensuring that no one is left behind.

During this period the UK's Human Rights Act remains in force, in fact emergency changes to laws explicitly state that these human rights must be upheld. Find out about these changes here. Importantly, the Human Rights Act places a legal duty to uphold people's human rights across all decisions and actions AND requires other law and policy (including Coronavirus laws) to be applied in a way that respects and protects people's human rights: 

Since March we have been working with a range of people with care and support needs, community groups, local authorities, health, care and educational staff and national bodies , as well as parliamentarians in the development of emergency laws. Read about our impact here. In this work the following human rights have been most at risk:

Human rights must be at the heart of our practical responses to the pandemic, 

  • ensuring that health and care for everyone
  • highlighting that some people and groups may be more at risk and need support
  • flagging the potential for discriminatory access to, and responses by, public services
  • the potential of some communities being targetted for hate speech and crime
  • the danger of a public health emergency leading to arbitary unscrutinised restrictions through emergency laws and heavy handed responses by officials, including the criminal justice agencies