Skip to main content Skip to footer

Weekly Human Rights News: 16-02-24

This week’s human rights news includes two opportunities for communities to get involved in and a new case on sentencing for young offenders.

Free human rights workshops for your community – apply now!

There’s just one week left to apply for a free online human rights workshop as part of BIHR’s Community Programme!

We are offering up to 20 community and voluntary groups the opportunity to run a BIHR introductory workshop with staff, volunteers, and the people they serve. The aim is to strengthen the voice of communities to tackle social injustice and disadvantage using human rights.

In previous years, BIHR has delivered workshops focusing on how human rights relate to self-advocacy, poverty, women survivors of domestic abuse, and parent carers. Click here to read more about our awareness-raising workshops in 2023.

Click here to apply using our Google Form, or our downloadable Easy Read form. Applications close on Friday 23rd February at 5pm.

We have our final London Open Day coming up!

On Thursday 22nd February, we’ll be in Hammersmith talking to community and voluntary groups about how they can use human rights law in their everyday work and advocacy.

It’s the final of four free Open Days run in collaboration with Just Fair as part of our London Communities Human Rights Programme. No previous human rights knowledge is required and attendees will find out more about our four-year programme, which is currently open for applications. We’re looking for four community partners who will receive dedicated support and £50,000 per year funding to support them to embed human rights in their work.

We concluded our Rights in Recovery Practice Leads Programme

This week we delivered the final workshop in our Rights in Recovery Practice Leads Programme. The programme is delivered together with the Scottish Recovery Consortium with the aim of supporting people with lived experience of addiction and recovery to advocate for themselves and the people they support when interacting with public services. We know through our work that people with addiction issues are often not treated with the dignity and respect they are entitled to. Empowering people to claim their rights is one part of the puzzle, there is much work still to be done to ensure all public services ensure non-discrimination in their policy and practice.

“We were lucky enough to get onto this course […] it’s courses like this that have helped a lot of people, it’s certainly helped me understand more about our human rights, and getting knowledge and understanding out to other people. If it’s courses like this that keep getting dropped off due to the lack of funding, I’m afraid that empowerment will be going out the window […] It’s courses like this that we need to get more people involved in […] If courses and services are getting closed down, we’re not going to be able to empower other people. We need as much courses and training like this to help other people.” Alan Chalmers Peer Support Worker. 

 If you're interested in human rights support for your community group or staff teams you can read what we offer here Human Rights Training for Individuals & Communities | BIHR or email to set up a chat about what you're looking for.

News from Elsewhere

The Joint Committee on Human Rights scrutinised the new Rwanda Bill

Whilst the Rwanda Bill returned to House of Lords on Tuesday, we want to highlight the new report released by the Joint Committee on Human Rights on Monday that revealed even more evidence that this Bill will ultimately undermine human rights protections for individuals and the Government’s commitment to international obligations.

The Government maintains that Rwanda is now a safe country for people seeking asylum despite the Supreme Court finding in November that flaws in the asylum system there could mean people are sent to countries where they are at risk of persecution, jeopardising their Article 3 right to be free from inhuman or degrading treatment.

Joanna Cherry QC MP, the chair of the Committee, said: "This Bill is designed to remove vital safeguards against persecution and human rights abuses, including the fundamental right to access a court..." 

JCHR concluded that the Bill is fundamentally incompatible with UK's human rights obligations.

Read the report


The High Court of Justice issued a Declaration of Incompatibility over sentencing laws

In 2014, when Jesse Quaye was 17, he participated in the stabbing and killing of 21-year-old Connor Barrett. Jesse was convicted of murder and sentenced in 2015, after he had turned 18.

Anybody who commits a murder when they’re under the age of 18 must be sentenced to “detention at Her Majesty’s Pleasure”. This is an indefinite sentence that means someone can be kept in prison as long as is deemed necessary. The court can set a minimum term. In Jesse’s case, they set the term at 15 years.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 introduced a rule that says if someone is under 18 at the time they are sentenced, they can apply for a review of their sentence halfway through their minimum term. However, if someone is over 18 when they are sentenced, they can’t.

The High Court of Justice said this breaches the Article 5 right to liberty, as it creates a risk of arbitrary detention. It also breaches the Article 14 right to be free from discrimination because there is no objective reason for treating young offenders differently based on their age at sentencing.

The High Court of Justice therefore made a Declaration of Incompatibility under Section 4 of the Human Rights Act. This means the Court said they do not believe that the law is compatible with human rights. It is now up to Parliament to decide whether or not to change the law.

Read the judgment

Share this

Stay up-to-date

Get our newsletter

Get monthly updates on UK human rights law and our work, resources and events sent straight to your inbox.