21 September 2017

60 groups have written to the Ministry of Justice, flagging their concern about the government’s lack of support of United Nations recommendations to improve and progress human rights here in the UK. The recommendations come from the Universal Periodic Review, a UN process in which the human rights situation in all countries is monitored. Today, the UK government will appear in Geneva to formally confirm which recommendations it will support, and which it will not (by noting them).

Organisations such as the Child Rights Alliance for England, the Mental Health Foundation, Stonewall, Welsh Women’s Aid and HIV Scotland have been joined by many others to express concern that:

  • Only 42% of the 227 recommendations will be supported by the UK government. Similar Western European and Others countries support an average of 67% recommendations.
  • Concern that recommendations which reflect issues raised by the Joint Civil Society Report (submitted by BIHR and 75 others groups) are not to be accepted.
  • Particular concern that recommendations that which have not been accepted include those relevant to guaranteeing the future of the Human Rights Act (HRA), rather than amending or repealing it via a new bill of rights and recognising that the HRA gives effect to a range of international human rights laws 

Together we have called on the UK government to

  • Disseminate its report on which recommendations have been supported and the rationale for this to civil society groups it has engaged with and ensure this is easily accessible on www.gov.uk. So far, information about the adoption of the recommendations was only made available via the UN, not the UK government.
  • Commit to an implementation plan for how the recommendations will be progressed over the next four and half years, including:
    • a process for better and on-going engagement with civil society across the UK, including in the devolved nations, which enables the monitoring of progress and constructive dialogue using a variety of consultation, involvement and evidence gathering approaches;
    • a mid-term report (2019) as part of this implementation plan, not in lieu of it, to assess progress and ensure opportunities for engagement with civil society, and to review any change of position on recommendations not previously supported; and
    • consideration of how this links to UN treaty monitoring reporting and implementation of recommendations from those bodies.

What you can do

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