Our pick of human rights news stories from the past week.

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News From Elsewhere

NHS bosses threatened with lawsuit for blocking maternity report during election campaign

A charity is threatening NHS England with legal action after it blocked the publication of a major independent report into maternity care in the NHS.

NHS England last week delayed the release of the Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries across the UK (MBRRACE) report, citing purdah – the ban on civil servants publishing politically sensitive information during an election period.

Now Birthrights, a charity that promotes human rights in maternity care, has sent a legal warning to Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS in England, demanding he make it public without delay.

Rosa Curling, human rights solicitor at law firm Leigh Day, who sent the letter on behalf of the charity, said: “The report is published annually and contains objective facts concerning maternal mortality which are not politically sensitive or directed at any political parties.

The Independent


Home Office unlawfully imprisoned asylum seekers, supreme court rules

The Home Office “falsely imprisoned” many asylum seekers who are now entitled to damages for their loss of liberty at the hands of the government, five supreme court judges have ruled.

Thousands of asylum seekers are likely to be affected, many survivors of torture, trafficking and other forms of persecution. Their compensation could run into millions of pounds.

The Guardian

Call for mental health support for young offenders

Mental health support must be made a priority for young offenders, according to Holyrood's justice committee. The committee called for assessments to be made within the first days of each youngster's move into secure care or a young offenders institution (YOI).

A review of mental health services for young people in custody, published earlier this year, made 80 recommendations, including the creation of a bespoke suicide and self-harm strategy.

It followed the deaths of Katie Allan in July 2018 and William Lindsay in October the same year, both at HMI YOI Polmont.

BBC News


Violence in children's relationships 'a public health issue'

So many young people experience violence in relationships it should be prioritised like substance misuse or smoking, a study has said.

Cardiff University researchers questioned 75,000 11 to 16-year-olds, a first large-scale survey on the issue.

They said dating and relationship violence in this age group should be treated as a public health issue.

BBC News


Hundreds of homeless people will be at risk of deportation after Brexit, charities warn

Hundreds of homeless people will be at risk of deportation after Brexit due to “disastrous” shortcomings in the Home Office’s process of granting EU nationals settled status, charities and lawyers have warned.

A significant number of homeless European nationals have “very little knowledge” of the EU Settlement Scheme, according to research by the charity Crisis, seen exclusively by The Independent. The homeless must apply for settlement to retain their UK immigration status after Britain leaves the EU.

The Independent


Disabled people forced to be 'changed on dirty floors' as most supermarkets don't have accessible toilets

Most supermarket chains do not provide fully accessible toilets needed by a quarter of a million people in the UK, research suggests.

A new survey of the major supermarket chains, including Sainsbury's, Tesco, Waitrose and Asda, found that six in 10 do not have a fully accessible toilet with all the equipment people need.

The Independent

Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards England, 2018-19

The official statistics provide findings from the Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) data collection for the period 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 have been released.

  • 240,455 applications were made, relating to 200,225 people
  • Number of applications completed was 216,005.
  • Number of DoLS applications not completed as at year end was 131,350.
  • The gap between applications made and applications completed has narrowed to 10.2%
  • Proportion of completed applications not granted was 45.9% (main reason change in circumstances)
  • 22% of applications completed within statutory timeframe of 21 days – the average for completed applications was 147 days

Digital NHS News


Jump in unrepresented defendants as legal aid cuts continue to bite

The number of unrepresented defendants in crown courts is rising sharply, the head of the Criminal Bar Association has warned, as cuts to legal aid increasingly affect the criminal justice system.

Addressing the annual Bar Council conference in London, Caroline Goodwin QC said figures showed as many as 7.7% of those at a first hearing last year had not been represented by a lawyer. In 2010 the percentage was 4.9%.

The Guardian