Every year, the 10th December marks International Human Rights Day. This year, the date also marked 70 years of the European Convention on Human Rights, 50 years of us at the British Institute of Human Rights and 20 years of the operation of our domestic Human Rights Act.

The 10th December this year also marks the near close of 2020, a year where the Coronavirus pandemic spread the world impacting us all but hitting those in already vulnerable situations even harder. A year where over 16.3% of people experienced the right to life not being protected due to reduced services or the prioritisation of other services; where nearly 28% of people experienced a reduction in care or support which resulted in dignity not being upheld and over 50% of people experienced restrictions which impacted their right to mental and physical well-being and to family life.[i]

A year where UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for the international community to put people’s rights front and centre[ii].  Astonishingly, also a year where ongoing Brexit negotiations reveal the UK Government reluctance to show a clear commitment to our membership of the European Convention on Human Rights and, as of last week, a year where the same Government announced a panel to review of the Human Rights Act.[iii]

The importance of Human Rights Day 2020 cannot be understated.

#MakingChange Through Human Rights with BIHR Online Event 

We spent the morning with over 196 people supporting them with information about their rights and building confidence in how to use human rights in everyday interactions to secure change and address social justice issues. Of the 196 attendees, about 40% were public officials who joined to increase their accountability to respect and protect human rights in everything they do. You can read more about the event here.

Human Rights Day Reception with The British Institute of Human Rights

We spent the afternoon with people with lived experience, policy makers and sector leaders in human rights, health, care, advocacy, media, academia and law. The event was chaired by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, with presentations from Sir Nicolas Bratza: former President of the European Court of Human Rights, Imran Khan QC: lawyer for Stephen Lawrence’s family, Alexis Quinn: human rights campaigner, Saba Salman: social affairs journalist, Brian Gormally: Director of the Centre of Administrative Justice in Northern Ireland, Professor Alan Miller: Independent Co-chair of the Scottish Government’s National Taskforce for Human Rights, Joe Powell: Chief Executive of All Wales People First and Merris Amos: Professor of Human Rights law at Queen Mary University.

You can read about the event here and watch some of the presentations here.

Human Rights Day Letter

We also issued an open letter alongside 114 organisations to the Prime Minister and political leaders in the UK urging them to respond proportionately to Covid-19, protect people’s rights and the rule of law, and to stand by the Human Rights Act. You can read the letter here.

#MakingChange Through Human Rights Videos

Our Director, Sanchita Hosali explains why human rights are more important than ever in this short video.

As part of our ongoing work highlighting the importance of human rights, we are launching a video project where we are asking people to do exactly as Sanchita has done here, and share their stories of #MakingChange using human rights.

Get Involved

Have you used human rights to create change over the last year? Maybe you have used human rights to challenge a decision or to make sure your views have been heard? We would love to hear your story and include it in our video project.

If you are interested in starring in our video, please contact us on [email protected] 

Find out more about the project here

[i] Statistics from BIHR research conducted to respond to the Joint Committee on Human Rights inquiry into the human rights implications of Covid19. Available here:

[ii] Video of UN Secretary General speaking about human rights on 22 April 2020 available here

[iii] UK Government Review of HRA, information available here