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Weekly Human Rights News: 24/05/2024

This week’s human rights news includes information about workshops we delivered, such as our in-person workshop at Care Plus Group. We are also announcing the opening of applications for community groups to work with BIHR following our launch event, and our CEO’s work giving evidence to inform a new report on human rights and covid-19.

We also share some external news on a High Court decision on the human rights compatibility of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2022.

Applications are open for community groups to work with BIHR!

On Wednesday, BIHR hosted an online event to share how community groups can take a human rights-based approach and to launch BIHR’s 2024 co-design programme! Our Senior Human Rights Officer Annie, along with guests from our 2023 support solutions, welcomed over 40 people all over the UK to share why our Human Rights Act matters for community groups.


BIHR will be working with 4 community groups from July to December to co-design a human rights support solution that will help groups to tackle injustice they see in their work. Solutions will vary depending on the purpose, context and audience, so community groups can think creatively about what would help them the most!

Applications are open now until 19th June and can be made via Google Form or a downloadable Easy Read form.

BIHR and the Adult Neurodiversity Service delivered an in-person workshop at Care Plus Group in Northeast Lincolnshire.

This week our CEO was with staff from the Adult Neurodiversity Service at the Care Plus Group in Northeast Lincolnshire, delivering a workshop on the Human Rights Act and its practical use in community services supporting adults with learning disabilities, autistic adults, and their family/carers or supporters/staff. We looked at what the duty under the HRA to respect, protect and fulfil people's human rights looks like in practice, discussing the rights to be free from inhuman and degrading treatment (Article 3), to respect for private and family life (Article 8) and to non-discrimination (Article 14). We worked through a range of real-life stories, including Ben, who brought an Article 3 case, which was recently settled, with the relevant authorities agreeing that Ben's human rights had been breached, along with his mother Clare's.

Mental Welfare Commission Scotland Workshops

This week we delivered two one-off workshops to staff at the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland. These workshops aimed to introduce the Human Rights Act 1998 and how the Mental Welfare Commission can use it in their work. We looked at two of the rights in the Human Rights Act using case studies to show how the Human Rights Act works with other Scottish Legislation such as the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003.

One of the participants said this about the workshop “Very important to learn about Human Rights and the BIHR delivers excellent training.”

Our CEO gave evidence to inform a new report on human rights and Covid-19

The Independent Commission on UK Public Health Emergency Powers has published a new report on UK governments’ reactions to Covid-19. The report makes a series of recommendations to inform planning for future health emergencies, including the need for proactive and participatory consultation of people impacted and introducing a statutory duty to have regard to advice produced by National Human Rights Institutions.

Our CEO, Sanchita, gave evidence to the Commission, drawing on our experience of working with individuals, community groups, public body workers and policy-makers throughout the pandemic. She spotlighted examples of positive practice while also highlighting concerns that human rights and the existing duties on public officials were not properly considered during decision-making.

New blog entry in our SEND and Human Rights series

This week we published blog 4 in our 6 part series focused on human rights and SEND. This instalment covers Article 1, Protocol 1 - Peaceful Enjoyment of Possessions, Click here to learn more about the Right to Peaceful Enjoyment of Possessions. The blog explores how this right can be used to ensure that any child who may need a fiddle toy is able to have one at school, and gives an example about how to use it in practice.

News from elsewhere

General Election Announced for 4th July 2024

 Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced on Wednesday that the UK General Election will be taking place on 4th July 2024, just six weeks away. With this in mind, we can expect manifestos and policy announcements from all the core parties in the coming weeks.

BIHR will be paying close attention to the pledges of all parties so we can consider what the potential human rights implications of these pledges could be. In the coming weeks, we shall share some reflections on the manifestos in the context of the Human Rights Act 1998 and what they might mean for people’s rights in the UK.

High Court decision on Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022

The High Court has declared that parts of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 is incompatible with the human rights of travellers.

The Act provided for an increase in the duration for which police can ban travellers from an area from 3 to 12 months, as well as conferring powers upon police to seize homes, fine, arrest, or imprison those living in unauthorised encampments.

The Court found that the increase in the no-return period constituted a disproportionate interference on the travellers’ Article 14 ECHR rights (freedom from discrimination) when read with Article 8 (the right to respect for private and family life) as a result of the unavailability of transit sites where travellers can stay without fear of a criminal penalty. The Court issued a rare declaration of incompatibility.

The charity Friends, Families, & Travellers who acted as intervenors in the case have called the judgment a “serious” blow to the Police Act 2022.

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