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Weekly Human Rights News: 23-12-22

This week's news includes a look back at our work throughout 2022 and a brief explanation of the human rights issues in the Rwanda case.

News from Elsewhere

The High Court said the Rwanda policy is legal

The Rwanda policy allows the UK Government to send people seeking asylum to Rwanda to have their claim processed there.

Charities supported people seeking asylum to bring a legal challenge against this policy. There were 12 issues in the case, including some human rights grounds. The claimants said the Rwanda policy breaches Article 3 of the Human Rights Act (the right to be free from inhuman or degrading treatment) because the Home Office’s conclusion that Rwanda is a safe country to send people to doesn’t take into account relevant information or has not been researched enough. They also said guidance on who can be sent to Rwanda breaches the Article 14 right to be free from discrimination because it indirectly discriminates against people on the basis of nationality, age, sex and disability (as many people who travel by small boats are young, male and from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan or Afghanistan). They also said it discriminates against people seeking asylum (as opposed to people applying to stay in the UK for other reasons).

On Monday 19th December,  the High Court released its judgment saying that Article 3 was not breached because the Home Office did undertake a thorough examination of all relevant, generally available information. It also said that even if the policy does discriminate against certain characteristics, this is justified by the legitimate aim of protecting “refugees from exploitation by criminal gangs who, for example, organise the small boat crossings”. It said the court “must also assume” people will not be removed if it puts their human rights at risks, so it expects the policy to be carried out in a proportionate way.  

The court also said that if someone was applying for a different type of leave but removing them from the UK would put their human rights at risk, then their claim would be treated as an asylum application. This means the comparison with people applying for other reasons to stay in the UK does not apply.

The Court therefore said that the policy was legal, but it did say the individual decisions of the claimants were not made fairly (either because they did not take into account all the information or because the wrong people made the decisions) so these will have to be re-made.

The claimants are considering whether to appeal the judgment.

Source: The Guardian


The UK Government breached its obligations to investigate the murder of a Belfast solicitor

Pat Finucane was a solicitor living in Belfast during the Troubles (a violent conflict in Northern Ireland in the 1960s – 1990s). He was shot at home by a member of the Ulster Defence Association. Public investigations found “there was collusion between Mr Finucane’s murderers and members of the security forces.” However, in 2019, the Supreme Court found the “inadequacies of the inquiries” into his murder meant they did not meet the requirements of Article 2 of the Human Rights Act, which protects the right to life.  

On Wednesday 22nd December, the High Court said that the UK Government remains in breach of its Article 2 duties because it has not undertaken a new public inquiry into the murder.

Source: BBC

The Welsh Government’s new Relationships and Sexuality Education curriculum complies with human rights

Through the Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act 2021, the Welsh Government introduced Relationships and Sexuality Education as a mandatory part of the school curriculum. The official guidance says this “must be inclusive and reflect diversity. It must include learning that develops learners’ awareness and understanding of different identities, views and values and a diversity of relationships, gender and sexuality, including LGBTQ+ lives.” It also says learning should be “developmentally appropriate”, suggesting that learning for 3+ year olds should support the “ability to act with kindness, empathy and compassion…awareness of the diversity of families and relationships…recognising how people value different things [and] experiencing inclusive behaviours, language and role modelling that show respect for others, whatever their gender.”

Five parents and members of the campaign group, Public Child Protection Wales, brought a claim against the Welsh Government, saying that the content conflicts with their religious beliefs. They said this breached the Article 2, Protocol 1 requirement to consider parents’ “religious and philosophical convictions” in education. However, this is not an absolute rule and the court said Article 2, Protocol 1 is designed to ensure education is inclusive and encourage critical thinking. The curriculum meets this standard so did not breach human rights.

Source: ITV

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