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Weekly Human Rights News: 17-02-23

This week’s news includes parents who won their right to family life case and clips from our Human Rights in CAMHS event.

We talked to NHS staff about human rights in practice

Human Rights Officer Katie led a workshop with staff in Leeds and York NHS Trust, discussing the duties on public bodies to respect, protect and fulfil human rights wherever possible. She covered key rights including the Article 3 right to be free from inhuman or degrading treatment, the Article 1, Protocol 1 right to enjoyment of possessions and the Article 8 right to private and family life.

We blogged about the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee’s evidence session on the Rights Removal Bill

On 11 January 2023, the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee heard evidence from a number of witnesses on what the UK Government’s Rights Removal Bill might mean for people in Northern Ireland. Witnesses such as Baroness Hale and Sir Stephen Laws KC told the Committee that the Bill, which would repeal the Human Rights Act, could have serious consequences for peace and political stability in Northern Ireland.

We shared clips from our Human Rights in CAMHS resource launch event

BIHR and our Lived Experience Experts created two guides to human rights for young people accessing inpatient mental health services and their loved ones. These include information on staff’s duties, relevant rights, real life examples and details of how to challenge decisions which aren’t rights respecting. As part of Children’s Mental Health Week 2023, we held an online launch event for the resources with talks from the Experts on their experiences and making the guides.

News from Elsewhere

Essex County Council breached the rights of parents prevented from seeing their son during lockdown

Mr Z is severely disabled and was living with foster parents during lockdown in March 2020. The local council did not allow his parents to see him in-person again until May 2021 because he was at high risk of coronavirus infection. This was despite a care review in September 2020 where his day care centre said they could facilitate in-person visits. Although the council set up video calls between Mr Z and his parents, the parents said this did not provide “meaningful contact” because Mr Z is largely non-verbal.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found that Essex County Council had breached the Article 8 right to family life. The council said it has accepted the recommendations in the Ombudsman’s report and it has paid compensation to the family.

Source: Essex Live


A hospital was allowed to treat a baby at risk of HIV

C was 37 weeks’ pregnant and HIV positive. She refused anti-retroviral treatment during her pregnancy and her doctors said there was a “high chance” her baby would be born HIV positive. The day before C’s planned c-section, the hospital treating her applied to court to be able to give the baby anti-retroviral medication straight after birth and for 28 days after. C believed this medication would not be good for her baby.

Under the Article 6 right to a fair trial and the Article 8 right to private and family life, C has a right to be involved in decisions about her baby’s care. However, the judge said, “The ECHR has recognised that there will be circumstances where parental involvement must yield to alternative rights, particularly where the interests of children are engaged.”

In this case, the judge decided that it was in the baby’s best interests to receive the treatment and so it would be a proportionate interference with C’s rights and to make this order although C wasn’t able to attend the court hearing.

By the time the judgment was published, the judge noted that the baby had been born and was doing well and the parents consented to the 28-day treatment.

Read the full judgment.


Four Extinction Rebellion scientists were found to be exercising their human right to protest

Four scientists for Extinction Rebellion were charged with £2,000 of criminal damage for spraying chalk on windows of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as part of a climate protest.

They appealed and on 10th February, the court found that they were exercising their legal right to protest as protected by the Article 10 right to freedom of expression and the Article 11 right to freedom of assembly and association of the Human Rights Act, so they were not guilty of criminal damage.

Source: Extinction Rebellion

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