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Weekly Human Rights News: 15-09-23

This week’s human rights news includes our CEO speaking at an event in Birmingham and an update on a key right-to-protest case.

Our CEO spoke at NDTi’s Time to Talk Next Steps event

On Thursday 14th September, our CEO headed to Birmingham to talk to staff working on the National Development Team for Inclusion’s Time to Talk Next Steps programme. The programme offers free, rights-based support for people between 16 and 25 who have additional support needs. Sanchita talked to staff about the Human Rights Act and the duties it places on all public bodies and people providing public services to protect, respect and fulfil everyone’s rights in the UK.

We continued our work with NHS Trusts to bring together human rights leads

We’re currently working with Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust on a human rights programme to support them to build and grow a network of engaged staff who are committed to human rights change. We’re working with staff from different departments to develop their ability to integrate human rights into their everyday practice, leading to better outcomes for people accessing services.

News from Elsewhere

A man detained by Metropolitan Police over coronation protests has started legal proceedings

Graham Smith is the Chief Executive of the campaigning group Republic, who want to get rid of the monarchy. He planned a protest on the day King Charles was coronated and told the police in advance. When he and other protestors arrived at the protest site with their signs, they were stopped by police officers who searched their van and found luggage straps. Graham said these were going to be used to keep their signs together but the police arrested him for “going equipped to lock on” – an offence introduced by the Public Order Act 2023. It means you can’t have equipment with you that could be used to attach yourself to others, buildings or objects to cause serious disruption. Graham was detained for 14 hours and says this was a disproportionate interference with his right to freedom of expression (Article 10 of the Human Rights Act) and right to freedom of assembly (Article 11). He has asked the High Court to judicially review the police’s actions.

Source: The Guardian


A Parliamentary report found that voter ID requirements may risk discrimination

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy and the Constitution wrote a report on the new requirement in the Elections Act 2023 for people to show photographic identification before they’re allowed to vote in elections. The report looked at the impact this had in recent local elections and made recommendations of things that should be changed before the next general election. The right to free (general) elections is protected by Article 3, Protocol 1 of the Human Rights Act.

The report says that 53% of the people turned away from voting stations were non-white despite members of ethnic minority communities being more likely to have photo voter ID than members of white communities. The report said this “suggests a degree of discrimination against non white voters, part of which could be linked to a lack of (or minimal) training of polling station staff.”

Read the full report

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