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Weekly Human Rights News: 19-05-23

This week’s human rights news includes our recap of the House of Lords debate on the Refugee Ban Bill and updates from the Council of Europe Summit.

We’ve extended applications for our Senior Human Rights Officer role

We’re still on the lookout for a new Senior Human Rights Officer – and you’ve now got until Thursday 15th June to apply! If you have experience developing an understanding of human rights in health or social care settings and an understanding of political and parliamentary processes, apply using the job pack on our website.

We shared a recap of the House of Lords’ debate on the Illegal Migration Bill

The Illegal Migration Bill (better known as the Refugee Ban Bill) has passed its Second Reading in the House of Lords, which means they will now go on to suggest changes. It was a long debate split into three separate sessions over the course of the day. We’ve put together a quick recap of some of the points made by each party about the way the Bill threatens human rights, international obligations and the rule of law. Many MPs also criticised the Government’s dangerous and divisive rhetoric around the Bill and people coming to the UK.

News from Elsewhere

The Prime Minister attended the Council of Europe Summit 

On Wednesday 17th and Thursday 18th May, the Council of Europe hosted its fourth summit in Iceland. The President of the European Court of Human Rights spoke at the event on the importance of States reaffirming their commitment to the Convention system and binding nature of the Court’s judgments and decisions, including interim measures. The UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, also spoke and talked about his concerns about cyber security, artificial intelligence and “illegal migration”. 

Read the Prime Minister’s speech 


South Wales police were criticised for using facial recognition technology during a Beyoncé concert 

South Wales police force used facial recognition technology in Cardiff city centre on Wednesday 17th May – the day that Beyoncé was hosting a concert in the city. The police said cameras would compare people’s faces to those on a “watch list” and the data of anyone not identified as being on the list will be deleted. A law academic described it as a “significant interference with human rights”. 

In 2020, the same police force was found to have breached Article 8 of the Human Rights Act (the right to private life) in its wide-ranging use of facial recognition technology. It didn’t meet data protection standards so wasn’t lawful and the interference with Article 8 could not therefore be justified. 

Source: BBC News 


The Northern Ireland Prison Service was found to be breaching the right to privacy 

Curtis Tanner was held on remand (while waiting for his trial) in HMP Maghaberry for driving offences. He brought a case against the prison for failing to publish its policy on intercepting phone calls or letters. He said this made it difficult to talk to friends and family or write to his mother. The Court found the prison was breaching the Article 8 right to privacy. 

Source: Irish News 

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