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Weekly Human Rights News: 10/05/2024

This week’s human rights news includes our latest human rights workshops with the Housing Ombudsman Service, an update on our Community Programme and work with the Government on their 'Levelling Up' initiative and a blog written by Mark about his son Steven, and how important the Human Rights Act is to them.

Wrapping up our work with the Housing Ombudsman Service

We delivered the final of three additional learning sets for a cohort of 16 Housing Ombudsman (HOS) staff. These sets build on the learning that has already taken place as part of our wider human rights capacity building for 300 HOS staff. The aim is to further embed a culture of respect for human rights within HOS and their work, and to provide practical frameworks for using human rights. In the final learning set, we supported staff to consolidate their practical human rights skills through case study work and provided a reflective space for staff to think about how they can continue to use their human rights knowledge within their role. You can read more about our work with HOS on our website

BIHR Event: Supporting Community Groups to use a Human Rights-Based Approach

BIHR is inviting community groups across the UK to join us at an interactive workshop, as part of our Community Programme 2022-2025. This is taking place on Wednesday 22 May 2pm – 3pm on Zoom. 

At this exciting event, you will have the opportunity to: 

  • Learn about BIHR’s previous work to co-design support solutions with 10 vibrant and varied organisations; 
  • Hear directly from community groups about how they are taking a human rights-based approach, using the Human Rights Act, to tackling specific issues affecting migrants, disabled people, people experiencing poverty, minoritized communities, and more. 
  • Be the first to find out about BIHR’s 2024 cycle of co-designing a support solution! We have 4 spaces on this year’s co-design programme. On this event, we’ll tell you how the programme will work and how you can apply on behalf of your community group. 


Putting human rights into other laws

This week we published our consultation response to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities who were seeking views on their proposed changes to the social housing allocation system and proposals relating to existing tenants. Our response was co-written with our Lived Experience Experts as well as drawing on our work with individuals, communities and staff in the housing sector. We recommended the Department embeds a human rights-based approach to ensure there is a human rights analysis for all decisions and actions taken in this reform. 

News from elsewhere

Mark Neary wrote about his experience of the Human Rights Act in action 

This week marked the 13th anniversary of Steven Neary’s ground-breaking legal case. Steven is a young man with a severe learning disability. He lives at home with his father, Mark, but in 2010, he stayed in a Local Authority support unit for a couple of weeks when Mark was ill. The Local Authority then kept Steven there for over a year against his and his father’s wishes. Steven and Mark took the Local Authority to court and it was found that Steven’s right to liberty and right to private and family life had been breached. On Monday, campaign group Rightful Lives shared a blog written by Mark reflecting on his and Steven’s experience and the importance of the Human Rights Act in ensuring rights are respected, protected and fulfilled. In his blog Mark powerfully says “The language and concepts of the HRA are much more accessible to the wider population. We can all quickly grasp the notion of having a private/family life and why that is important, especially for someone with a learning disability. Likewise, the right to liberty is a reasonably straightforward issue and most of us understand when our liberty is at risk. Steven’s case rested on those 2 particular articles, but I would argue that all the other articles of the HRA are as accessible and understandable to the people to whom they apply (I.e. everyone) … my sense is that the idea of human rights strike many chords.”


Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights looked into human rights in the UK democratic process

This week parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights held evidence sessions as part of its inquiry into The Role of Human Rights in the UK Democratic Process. The JCHR notes that in 2024 over 50 countries and the EU will hold elections, making it the biggest election year in global history. The inquiry is open and accepting evidence until 29 May 2024.

You can watch this week's evidence sessions here.


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