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Weekly Human Rights News: 03-03-23

This week’s news includes our summary of the Joint Committee’s report on the Rights Removal Bill and an update on changes to marriage laws.

We joined Restraint Reduction Network’s webinar

Restraint Reduction Network hosted a webinar looking at the similarities and differences between solitary confinement, seclusion, isolation and long-term segregation. Panel members, including professionals and lived experience experts, discussed the impact of each and the implications of and for the Mental Health Act review.

Our Head of Policy & Programmes, Carlyn, joined the panel to give a human-rights perspective, particularly around Article 3, the right to be free from inhuman and degrading treatment, and how this right can never be interfered with.

We summarised the Joint Committee on Human Rights’ Rights Removal Bill report

On 17th January 2023, the Joint Committee on Human Rights released its Legislative Scrutiny report on the Bill of Rights Bill (better known as the Rights Removal Bill). The report said, “The Government should not progress the Bill in its current form through Parliament.” The Government’s response to the report is due by 25th March 2023. Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has said he “did not agree with all the contents of the JCHR report”.

The report is 137 pages long, so we’ve created a plain-language summary of the key points.

We blogged about human rights in eating disorder treatment

Did you know it’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week? At BIHR, we work with NHS staff to promote a culture of respect for human rights within health services. Currently, we have two different programmes in England which work specifically with staff in mental health and eating disorder wards.

In our new blog, we reflects on the hard decisions that have to be made about the right to life, the right to be free from inhuman or degrading treatment and best interests, with insights into the law.

News from Elsewhere

The Equality and Human Rights Commission released a report on adult social care

In 2021, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched an inquiry into social care decision-making by local authorities.

On 28 February 2023, it released a report of its findings. In “Challenging adult social care decisions in England and Wales”, the Commission said that people are not given crucial information about how to challenge decisions and the system is confusing and subject to long delays.

Read the full report.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights’ podcast covered Human Rights Act reform

Committee Corridor is a podcast hosted by MPs from different parliamentary committees with expert guests appearing to discuss topical events and issues. In this week’s episode called “Does the Human Rights Act need to be reformed?”, the Joint Committee on Human Rights Chair and SNP MP Joanna Cherry talked to Professor Francesca Klug; Liberal Democrat Peer, Baroness Sarah Ludford; and Conservative MP David Simmonds.

Listen to the podcast.


The legal age of marriage is now 18 in England and Wales

The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act took effect on Monday 27th February 2023. This means that it is now illegal for anyone under 18 to be married in England or Wales (even if they are taken out of the country to be married). Before this Act, 16- and 17-year olds could get married with parental or judicial consent but this is no longer allowed. The changes do not apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

While the right to marry is protected by Article 12 of the Human Rights Act, it can be restricted in cases that are lawful, legitimate and proportionate. This allows the Government to introduce laws that restrict who can get married – such as by setting a minimum age limit.

Source: BBC

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