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Weekly Human Rights News: 19/04/2024

This week’s human rights news includes updates on our free awareness-raising workshops with community organisations, updates on our Tees, Esk and Wear Valley Practice Leads NHS Programme, information on our updated Interim Measures explainer, information from Human Rights Consortium Scotland’s report of conversations with migrants, further updates about the Safety of Rwanda Bill and news of a successful challenge to staff protections against striking in a union in relation to Article 11, HRA.

We shared our updated interim measures explainer

Interim measures are very rare but are an important part of the functioning of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). They're contained in Rule 39 of the Rules of Court and mean the ECtHR can order countries to take (or not take) certain steps while a legal case is ongoing.

Interim measures have been in the news lately because the UK Government wants to introduce a new law saying that Government Ministers can decide whether to comply with them or not.

Our plain-language explainer looks at what interim measures are, how they're used and whether they’re legally binding. We’ve also updated our explainer to cover recent guidance published by the ECtHR and the new wording of Rule 39 which took effect in April 2024.

Find out more about interim measures

We talked about the Human Rights Act with community groups across the UK

We had a busy week delivering five introductory workshops with community and voluntary groups across England, Scotland, and Wales as part of BIHR’s Community Programme 2022-2025.

On Tuesday, we met with Aberdeen in Recovery – an organisation that offers therapies, recovery groups and conversation cafes to help people experiencing active addiction and recovery. Later on, we joined the Bristol Refugee and Asylum Seeker Partnership which comprises 15 Bristol-based organisations working in solidarity with refugees and asylum seekers.

On Wednesday, we met with members of a community centre in rural mid-Wales at a workshop coordinated by a Human Rights Ambassador for Age Cymru. In the evening, we joined Awesta Charity, which initially focused its efforts on aiding Afghanistan and now supports all communities in the UK, particularly refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants, advocating for better education, housing and mental health services.

On Thursday, we joined the Traveller Movement which works to address ethnic Romani (Gypsy), Roma and Irish Traveller inequality, exclusion and discrimination. We focused on the right to private and family life (Article 8) and the right to non-discrimination (Article 14).

After attending a workshop, one participant said: “I feel more passionate about ensuring that the HRA is protected and that our membership of the ECHR is protected, to protect people for generations to come. We must work to ensure that people are aware of their rights and the laws and institutions that are here to help us.”

We kicked off our Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Practice Leads Programme

This week we kicked off our latest practice leads programme with Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust (TEWV). We will be working with around 35 practitioners, from psychiatrists to care home managers, to build in depth knowledge on the Human Rights Act as well as a detailed look at various rights and case studies. The course will be running as 9 sessions from April - November 2024. Excitingly, we will be working with our 3 Lived Experience Experts to deliver bespoke experience led training.

If you’re interested in human rights training for your organisation click here.


Success in the previous programme:

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the human rights practice leads workshops. It has challenged my thinking making me question why I do things and how we can ensure human rights are considered in all we do. It helped me understand human rights are not complicated to understand and they should be the building blocks for all we do in our organisation. The knowledge I have gained from the training has enable me to be able to quickly review all I do and consider why I am doing it with a human rights perspective.”

Participant in the 2023 Practice Leads Programme


News from Elsewhere

The Safety of Rwanda Bill continued to be debated

On Wednesday evening the House of Lords passed a further two amendments to the Safety of Rwanda Bill, ensuring that the back and forth stages in the Houses of Parliament (often referred to as ‘ping pong’) will continue. The Bill is expected to return to the House of Commons on Monday. The Bill will not become law until both Houses agree.

You can learn how a Bill becomes a law in our explainer.

Source: The Guardian


The Supreme Court ruled on a strikes case

Judges have told employers they’ll no longer be able to discipline their staff for taking part in legal strike action in a UK Supreme Court ruling on Wednesday. The case relates to a care worker who was punished at work for taking strike action with her union. Supreme Court judges declared that UK trade union legislation was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and Human Rights Act (HRA). Article 11 of the HRA provides protections relating to the freedom of assembly and association, including strike action. Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said the case was the “most important industrial action case for decades” while the TUC hailed it as “monumental”. Read more on our website on Article 11, the right to assembly and association, and when this right often comes up.


“If employees can only take strike action by exposing themselves to detrimental treatment, the right dissolves,” the judgment read.

Source: UNISON

Read the case summary.


Human Rights Consortium Scotland shared a new report

In 2023, the Scottish Government announced their plans for a new Scottish Human Rights Bill that would incorporate a range of economic, social and cultural rights into Scots law for the first time. As part of this process, they invited responses from civil society on the consultation for the bill towards the end of 2023. On the lead up to the response time to the consultation, the Human Rights Consortium Scotland (HRCS) sought out the voices of those who would be impacted by the potential law to see what their thoughts are.

HRCS recently published a report containing conversations with migrants in order to inform their response to the consultation. The report, entitled “A Human Rights Bill for Scotland, for All” contains voices and views from a minority group that could be significantly impacted by the bill if it becomes law. This is an important step to make sure that the law is implemented in the right way, and “to make human rights a reality for everyone living in Scotland”. 

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