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Weekly Human Rights News: 26/04/2024

This week’s human rights news includes our latest human rights workshops with community groups from across the UK and the latest on the new Rwanda Bill.

Our CEO spoke at an adult social care conference

We started the week with our CEO, Sanchita, providing the keynote address for a County Council's Adult Services team of several hundred staff, from frontline workers through to the leadership team and elected cabinet members. Sanchita provided a practical introduction to our Human Rights Act for adult social and health services, drawing on Eleanor Roosevelt's famous quote on universal human rights beginning in the small places close to home - places where such services have both a legal duty to support people's human rights, and a real opportunity to do this meaningfully. Asked what actions they would take following the conference, attendees said they would “ensure that HR is incorporated in all aspects of commissioning”, “refresh the teams’ knowledge on Human Rights and our duties to uphold this”, “ask whether we are supporting the right of each individual in each situation”, and simply “make it happen”.

We delivered the last of our 2024 community awareness-raising workshops

This week we delivered the last of our introductory workshops with whole host of community and voluntary groups across the UK as part of BIHR’s Community Programme 2022-2025. This programme has given BIHR the opportunity to connect and share human rights information with organisations supporting their communities in a wide variety of ways.

This week we met with self-advocates in workshops with People First Dorset and Supported Loving to help people to know and speak up for their human rights. We also delivered workshops with lived experience groups, including Allies for Justice and Families for Justice (change-making groups made up of people with experience of navigating the UK asylum system) and the Young Ambassadors (young people with health-related difficulties, supported by the Association for Young People’s Health). Finally, we provided staff working in small community organisations with information about human rights to enable them to advocate for the people they support – this included ATD Fourth World, Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support, and Rochdale Women’s Welfare Association.

A participant on our workshop with ATD Fourth World, a human rights-based anti-poverty organisation, said: “I have a better understanding of the Act, and how to use it. I feel more positively about it because I am now convinced it can help fight for the rights of the people I support.”

News from Elsewhere

The Safety in Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Act passed through Parliament

On Monday 22nd April, the new Rwanda Act finished its passage through Parliament and it has now become law. Find out more about how laws are made on our website).

There are many human rights concerns with the new Act, including that it disapplies sections of the Human Rights Act to people in vulnerable situations and says that ministers can decide whether or not to follow temporary orders from the European Court of Human Rights, known as interim measures. 251 organisations wrote to the Prime Minister to express “shared outrage at the passage of [this] shameful and performatively cruel law”, saying it would “break international law and further shatter the UK’s commitment to justice and the rule of law.”

Read more about interim measures

Read more about the Bill

Read our CEO's statement on the Act becoming law

The Joint Committee on Human Rights questioned the Ministry of Justice on the UK’s engagement with its international human rights obligations

The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) is the Parliamentary Committee responsible for issues relating to human rights in the UK. On Wednesday 24th April, the JCHR asked the Justice Secretary and the Deputy Director of Rights Policy from the Ministry of Justice questions about the UK Government’s internal processes for engaging and complying with its human rights obligations. This includes implementing judgments from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) as well as working with the United Nations (UN)

Watch the session

Read more about the ECtHR

Read more about our work with the UN

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