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Weekly Human Rights News: 26-01-24

This week’s human rights news includes our work with adult social care and healthcare teams and a new case on the right to clean air.

NHS staff members created a human rights community of practice at work

We recently completed an extensive human rights programme commissioned by Leeds and York Foundation Practice Trust (LYPFT) for Autumn 2022 to Winter 2023. The purpose of this programme was to introduce and consolidate human rights legal knowledge throughout The Trust, with the aim of becoming an organisation founded on the principles of human rights. The programme of work involved:

  • A mapping meeting with the Trust’s board
  • A research and human rights knowledge sharing session with people who access services and their loved ones
  • A two-part staff capacity building workshop series with 300 staff across the entire trust
  • An eight-part in-depth learning programme with up to 38 members of staff (‘Practice Leads’)
  • A human-rights focused policy workshop.

The programme was successful in starting to build a culture of respect and understanding of the Human Rights Act and how this interacts with a health and social care setting. Staff involved are now able to use the Human Rights Act to provide better care for those who interact with services and to embed this knowledge going forward.

A high point of the training was at the conclusion of the Practice Leads programme, where the cohort decided to establish a ‘community of practice’ – this is where they will work together to build an internal human rights network to compound what they learnt on the course.

One staff session participant said, “every clinical member of staff should have access to this training.”

Awareness-Raising Workshops 2024: Applications Open

As part of BIHR’s Community Programme, we delighted to be re-opening applications for the 2024 cycle of awareness-raising workshops for up to 20 community and voluntary groups across the UK. These bespoke, introductory online workshops aim to boost knowledge and confidence around the practical use of the Human Rights Act, and will focus on how the legal duties and rights can be used to challenge the social injustices and disadvantage that community and voluntary groups are seeking to change.

Applications are open until 5pm Friday 23 February.

We started our programme with a council’s adult social care team

We delivered the first in a series of three workshops with Wakefield Council's Adult Social Care team. We looked at human rights decision making in situations where someone is deprived of their liberty, not being supported to have a say about decisions that affect their life. We also looked at the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on adult social care including supporting people with financial decisions and debt through a human rights lens of autonomy but also protecting people from harm. 

Participants said, "it was excellent - relevant to our field of work and made it very understandable” and "the training helps refresh memory from professional training. The case studies are really helpful in putting learning to practice".

News from Elsewhere

The European Court of Human Rights released its annual statistics

Each year, the European Court of Human Rights released a summary of its cases. On Thursday 25th January, the Court shared its statistics from 2023 which showed that there was just one finding against the United Kingdom. Two cases reached a friendly settlement (where the parties come to an agreement).

See the statistics


A family is bringing a human rights case about a “right to clean air”

Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah was a nine-year-old girl who lived with her family near a busy London road. She was hospitalised nearly 30 times in three years for asthma-related issues. She died in 2013 as a direct result of air pollution. Her family argued that the Government failed to uphold Ella’s right to life by allowing dangerously high levels of pollution. Ella’s family have now begun legal proceedings against the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Department for Transports; and Department for Health and Social Care for failing to protect Ella’s Article 2 right to life.

Read more about the case

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