Skip to main content Skip to footer

Weekly Human Rights News: 24-03-23

This week’s news includes our CEO’s visit to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and our work with Poverty Action Network.

Our CEO gave evidence to the Council of Europe on UK human rights reform

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (the birthplace of the European Convention on Human Rights) asked our CEO, Sanchita, to give evidence on the UK Government’s current attempts to change human rights law in the UK.

Sanchita was joined by Baroness Hale at the evidence session on Wednesday 22nd March where both shared their concerns about the Rights Removal Bill and the Refugee Ban Bill. Sanchita told the Assembly:

“We are living through extraordinary times in the UK. The Bill of Rights Bill follows a range of legislation which has restricted people’s fundamental Convention rights, including the right to peaceful protest, and increasingly hostile migration measures. This month we face the Illegal Migration Bill introduced on 7th March. This essentially takes some of the worst parts of the Bill of Rights Bill and transposes them into migration law, with additional extreme measures that would set the UK on a collision course with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). It would be quite extraordinary, should the Illegal Migration Bill pass in any form that it currently resembles, for it to not be significantly challenged in the UK courts and the ECtHR.”

Sign up to our Rights Removal Bill mailing list to hear more about our work with Council of Europe in next week’s update.

We talked to Poverty Action Network about using human rights in real life

Poverty Action Network is a Scottish project formed by Marion Fellows MP to link together public representatives, organisations, churches, and charities from the community, who aim to combat poverty in the local area.

As part of our Community Programme, our Head of Policy and Programmes Carlyn and Human Rights Officer Katie met with Poverty Action Network members to talk about how the Human Rights Act has been used to improve the lives of people facing poverty across the UK.

We shared our new guide on human rights and the Refugee Ban Bill

On Monday 27th and Tuesday 28th March, MPs will vote on changes to the UK Government’s “Illegal Migration Bill” – better known as the Refugee Ban Bill. We’ve created a guide which offers a plain-language breakdown of our human rights concerns with the Bill, including a right-by-right analysis and real-life stories linked to the impact of specific clauses of the Bill. The guide is for anyone who wants to empower themselves with human-rights legal and practical knowledge in order to resist the Bill.

News from Elsewhere

Trigger warning: This week's external news includes children seeking asylum and police misconduct.


The Justice Secretary responded to the Joint Committee on Human Rights

On 17th January 2023, the Joint Committee on Human Rights issued its Legislative Scrutiny report on the Rights Removal Bill. Legislative scrutiny is where a Parliamentary Committee, made up of MPs and/or members of the House of Lords, takes a close look at a proposed law to make comments and suggest changes.

The Committee said, “the Government should not progress the Bill in its current form through Parliament.”

On Wednesday 22nd March, the Government published its response to this report. The Government accepted almost none of the Committee’s recommendations, insisting that it is “confident” in its Bill.

Read the full response


The Court ordered the Home Secretary to pay damages to a child separated from his family

In 2018, 15-year-old MR had to leave his home country of Afghanistan on his own after his parents were killed. He travelled through Iran and Turkey and was eventually registered as a person seeking asylum in Greece. MR’s uncle lived in the United Kingdom and so the Greek authorities wrote to the UK asking for them to be reunited. MR’s uncle confirmed he would like MR to come to the UK to be with him, but the UK refused. This meant MR was left on his own in Greece for three years. The UK eventually said they might reconsider if MR submitted DNA evidence, which he did, and so MR was finally able to join his uncle in the UK in May 2021.

In December 2021, the Court said the UK had breached MR’s Article 8 right to private life by denying him the “loving and stable environment [his uncle] believed [he] needed to be able to recover from the loss of his parents.”

On Tuesday 21st March, the Court awarded MR £10,000 in damages because the “interference with [his] private life rights was very significant. He was a vulnerable child, recently orphaned, suffering from mental health concerns, who was seeking stability with his uncle and other close relatives.”


The Casey Report found “systemic and fundamental problems in how the Met is run”

In February 2022, the Baroness Casey Review was launched to look at “standards of behaviour and internal culture of the Metropolitan Police Service”. This came after the murder of Sarah Everard by a Metropolitan Police Officer in March 2021.

In March 2023, the Review’s Final Report was released and includes concerns about management, integrity, discrimination and a lack of accountability and transparency. The report concludes that “public confidence and trust in the Met have been falling, calling public consent into question, and the relationship with Black Londoners in particular remains unfixed.”

Read the full report

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.