On 10 December 2021, we celebrated Human Rights Day 2021 with a virtual event featuring speakers from some of our amazing partner organisations.

First up was Warrington Speak Up - an advocacy group working with people affected by mental illness and learning disabilities to promote social inclusion and justice. They have been working with our Human Rights Officer, Annie, on creating Easy Read icons relating to human rights. Click the video below to hear their Manager, Mandy, explain the project and the importance of involving self-advocates in creating resources.

We then heard from Together - an alliance of Scottish children's charities that promotes and raises awareness around the human rights of children, and the implementation and understanding of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). They've been working with our Human Rights Officer, Natalie, on creating a tool to ensure Children's rights impact assessments (CRIAs) are carried out in a way that's compatible with essential rights. Click the video below to hear their Director, Juliet, talk about the universality of human rights.

Next up was Wakefield Council Social Services. They've been working with our human rights officer, Katrin, on ensuring fair and equal risk assessments and putting together a tool that can be used by assessors to ensure human rights are being respected - particularly during times when services are under a lot of pressure. Click the video below to hear their Principal Social Worker, Rachael, talk about the practical outcomes of their work with BIHR.

One of our excellent Lived Experience Expert Consultants, Charli, then spoke about her experience of being an inpatient in a Children and Young People's Mental Health unit and the work she's doing with BIHR to ensure others in similar situations understand and have their rights respected. Click the video below to hear Charli talk about having to learn her rights while already at crisis point.

Click the video below to hear Charli talk about the importance of the Human Rights Act in inpatient settings – particularly for those from marginalised communities.

Finally, our Policy and Programmes Manager, Carlyn, spoke about BIHR's work on national policy and how it connects to our work with people, communities and systems. Carlyn discussed BIHR's campaign around the Human Rights Act review and Do Not Resuscitate Orders, which became particularly relevant during Covid. Click the video below to hear Carlyn talk about what we really need to make human rights effective in the UK.

Finally, our director, Sanchita, and panel members, answered questions from the audience. Sanchita addressed the issue of how we make people care more about the Human Rights Act by pointing to real experiences rather than theory and suggested the best way to encourage public bodies to take their Human Rights Act responsibilities seriously is to make it relevant and to break down the barriers that divide "us" and "them". Charli suggested that we need more cohesive education in schools, from early years through to older ages, to ensure young people understand and stay engaged in their rights.

A huge thank you to all our speakers and to everyone who signed our open letter to the Prime Minister, urging him to protect our human rights. Click here to read the letter, read an Easy Read version of the letter, or to watch it as a video.

Their stories and those of everyone we work with at BIHR became even more important on 14 December 2021, when the Government released a consultation paper setting out its intention to "overhaul" the Human Rights Act and replace it with a UK Bill of Rights. We at BIHR are deeply concerned about this announcement.

To help people understand what's happening in an accessible way, we have put together two short explainers. 

Click here to find out what's happened so far and what might happen next.

Click here to find out what the report and the consultation paper say.

We've also set out a 5-part action plan and are urging other organisations to get involved. Click here to read our plan and to see how you can join in.