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Weekly Human Rights News: 05/07/2024

5 July 2024

This week’s human rights news includes the outcome of the General Election, an exciting announcement about the four community groups we will be working with to co-design human rights support solutions, hearing from our RITES committee about the importance of free elections, sharing news about our CEO’s trip to a residential set up by Public the Law Project, and a reminder for London Community Groups to sign up for our Summer Human Rights Workshop. 

We selected four community groups to co-design a human rights support solution!

The next phase of BIHR’s Community Programme 2022-2025, funded by the Baring Foundation, involves working alongside four community and voluntary organisations across the UK to co-create a resource, whatever that might be, to support their mission using human rights. 

We have been shortlisting over the past couple of weeks – having received lots of brilliant applications. Today we are thrilled to announce the community groups we will be working with until Human Rights Day in December: 

  • African Women Empowerment Forum – a charity which is dedicated to empowering African women in the UK and beyond. They provide a platform for social interaction, integration, and skill development through various programs. 
  • Cwm Taf People First - a self-advocacy charity that is run by and for people with learning disabilities who live in the areas of Rhondda-Cynon-Taff, Merthyr & Blaenau Gwent. Their aim is to empower members to challenge prejudice and discrimination through training, education and support. 
  • Parent and Carer Alliance – a community organisation working with families whose children have additional needs and disabilities to ensure they are recognised and supported to have a choice of opportunities, have a voice in the decision-making processes which affect their lives, and aim to empower parents so they can be effective advocates, ensuring their vulnerable children get their needs met and live better lives. 

We look forward to working together with these fantastic organisations to create practical change using human rights. 

BIHR and RITES Committee members shared why the right to free elections matters to them

In the lead-up to the General Election on Thursday 4th July, BIHR staff members, trustees and Lived Experience Experts from the RITES Committee shared videos across social media explaining why the right to free elections is important to them. 

The right to free elections is protected by Article 3, Protocol 1 of the Human Rights Act and includes the right to vote. Members talked about the significance of the right in their work and personal lives, including why marginalised groups deserve to have their voices heard; the duty on public body workers to support individuals to vote; and the link between human rights and democracy. 

BIHR’s CEO joined a residential on ‘Putting communities in the driving seat’

This week our CEO Sanchita joined grantees of the Baring Foundation for a residential, hosted by the Public Law Project, focused on 'Putting communities in the driving seat'. The 3-day conference showcased current community legal work in various forms of partnership, and the opportunity for a range of organisations to connect and learn from each other's work. We heard about a range of work, including from Central England Law Centre and Grapevine, most recently looking at using the power of the law to secure effective and accessible annual health checks for people with learning disabilities and the work of the Centre also in building relationships with local decision-makers to better support people's legal rights particular in relation to housing. Greater Manchester Law `Centre and Greater Manchester Tenant’s Union also shared their experiences of developing and coordinating the Housing Justice Network which combines legal advice, legal education with city-wide and hyper-local community organising to challenge poor housing decisions and planning that negatively impact residents.  

Taking a human rights-based approach

This is your reminder to sign up for our free London Communities Summer Human Rights Workshop on 17th July. 

 Following the success of our first summer workshop we are offering community groups and voluntary sector organisations based in London the chance to join us for another FREE human rights capacity building session. This is an opportunity to learn what the protections the Human Rights Act offers your community and how you can use the law in advocacy with public services to create positive change. Together we’ll map key issues facing your community to human rights law, and how to embed a human rights based approach within your community.  

The half-day workshop takes place on Wednesday 17th July from 9.30-12.30 pm. Lunch will be provided following the event. The session will take place at The Abbey Centre, SW1P 3BU. 

News from elsewhere

The Labour Party formed the new UK Government

On Thursday 7th July, the UK had a General Election, where people across the UK had the opportunity to elect new Members of Parliament (MPs). The Labour Party had the most MPs elected, which means they will now form the UK Government. The Leader of the Party, Keir Starmer, will become the UK’s Prime Minister. UK Parliament will reassembly on Tuesday 9th July and on 17th July, the King will read out a speech written by the Government that sets out its policies and proposed laws for the upcoming year.

Our CEO, Sanchita, released a statement on Friday 5th July after the election results were announced. Sanchita welcomed the new MPs and said, "we now need commitment to setting a positive agenda for respecting, protecting and fulfilling people's human rights at the highest levels right through to our communities."

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