Today is Human Rights Day. On this day we celebrate universal human rights. These freedoms, written down after World War II in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, have been brought home through the UK’s Human Rights Act and European laws.

As this year Human Rights Day coincides with a General Election, our letter has been sent to all party leaders, calling on them to commit to safeguarding universal human rights. It has been signed by over 100 civil society groups. 

Our letter states:

"As we approach the 2019 General Election we ask you to join us in celebrating Human Rights Day by committing to protecting universal human rights in the UK.

Human rights, as universal standards shared across the globe, were laid down 71 years ago in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, inspiring law and positive action across the world. Our very own law, the Human Rights Act, draws on these universal rights, setting legal standards to protect people across the UK whether they are in hospitals or care homes, social services or places of detention, housing or schools.

Whatever the outcome of Thursday’s election, 2020 will be an important year for the UK. Many decisions will need to be made about what sort of country we want to be, going forward, and what relationship people have with those we place in power.

We ask you to stand firm on our hard-won freedoms. We ask you to stand firm on ensuring that our Human Rights Act remains an integral part not just of our constitutional arrangements , but also of people’s everyday lives, enabling us all to live with equal dignity and respect. "

Sanchita Hosali, Director of The British Institute of Human Rights has said: 


With just two days before people go to the polls , BIHR is proud that over 100 groups have joined our open call to political leaders to stand firm on our Human Rights Act. Every person’s human rights matter. We stand united with groups supporting carers, LGBT communities, children, women, older people, people affected by dementia, black and minority ethnic communities, lawyers, refugees, people with learning disabilities, and many more across the UK who are calling on political leaders to champion our law. With big questions facing this country in the coming months, it is vital that each of us is assured that we all able to rely on our legal protections whenever a public official is making a decision about our lives, enabling everyone to be treated with equal dignity.  On this global human rights day, that would be a fitting way to live up to the UK’s legacy of promoting universal human rights not just abroad, but here at home as well.


A full list of signatories are below:

Chilli Reid, Executive Director, AdviceUK

Justine Hodgkinson, CEO, Advocacy Focus

Jeff Hawkins, CEO, Age Connects Cardiff and the Vale

Joe Powell, Chief Executive, All Wales People First

Sally Copley , Director of Policy, Campaigns and Partnerships, Alzheimer's Society

Jim Pearson, Director of Policy and Research, Alzheimer Scotland

Allan Hogarth,   Head of Advocacy & Programmes, Amnesty International UK

Beth Cadger, Policy, Research and Editorial, Article 12 in Scotland

Carolyne Willow, Director, Article 39

Ewan Roberts, Centre Manager, Asylum Link Merseyside

Donna Covey CBE, Chief Executive, AVA (Against Violence and Abuse)

Lorraine Evans, Chief Executive Officer, Bexley Accessible Transport Scheme

Priscilla  Nkwenti, Chief Executive, BHA for Equality

Ruth Allen, CEO, BASW (British Association of Social Workers)

Amy Gibbs, Chief Executive, Birthrights

Tom Hire, Director, Bristol Mind

Ben Higgins, CEO, British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD)

Sanchita Hosali, British Institute of Human Rights

Maurice Frankel, Director, Campaign for Freedom of Information

Helen Walker, Chief Executive ,Carers UK

Nic Mainwood, Operations Manager, Centre for Women's Justice

Jayne Leeson MBE, CEO, Changing Our Lives

Amy Woodhouse, Joint Acting Chief Executive, Children in Scotland

Sally  Holland,    Children’s Commissioner for Wales

Louise   King, Director, Children’s Rights Alliance for England

Prof. Richard Ashcroft, Deputy Dean, City Law School

Jim Bowen, Managing Director, Clynfyw Care Farm

Jatin Haria, Executive Director,   Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights

Brian Gormally, Director, Committee on the Administration of Justice

Carol Homden, CBE, Chief Executive, Coram

Kamran Mallick, Chief Executive, Disability Rights UK

Rhian Davies, Chief Executive, Disability Wales

Catherine Baker, Senior Campaigns Officer, ECPAT UK

Daniel Gorman, Director, English PEN

Alex Mik, Campaigns and Networks Director, Fair Trials

Jonathan Hyams, Social Secretary, Fairness, Respect, Equality Shropshire (FRESh) Ltd

Cathy Ashley, Chief Executive, Family Rights Group

Emma Sangster, Coordinator, Forces Watch

Sonya Sceats, Chief Executive, Freedom from Torture

Sarah Mann, Director , Friends, Families and Travellers

Anna Henry, Director, Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children

Professor Ian Welsh OBE, Chief Executive, Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE)

Kerry Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Helen Bamber Foundation

Nathan Sparling, Chief Executive, HIV Scotland

Andrew   Copson,  Chief Executive, Humanists UK

Deborah Coles, Director, INQUEST

Helena  Kennedy QC, Director,   International Bar Association Human Rights Institute

Enver Solomon, CEO, Just for Kids Law

Andrea Coomber, Director, JUSTICE

Gisela Valle, Director, Latin American Women's Rights Service

Julie Bishop, Director, Law Centres Network

Jordan Smith, Scott Watkin and Wendy Burt, The Representative Body Co Chairs,   Learning Disability England

Chris Minnoch, CEO, Legal Aid Practitioners Group

Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive, LGBT Foundation

Martha Spurrier, Director, Liberty

Paula Twigg, Director, Mary Ward Legal Centre

Theresa Schleicher, Casework Manager, Medical Justice

Sarah Jones, CEO, Mencap Liverpool & Sefton

Zrinka Bralo, Chief Executive, Migrants Organise

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Mind

Teresa Jennings, Chief Executive, n|compass Northwest

Deborah Gold,  Chief Executive, National Aids Trust

Zarin Hainsworth, Director, National Alliance of Women's Organisations (NAWO)

Zamzam Ibrahim, National President, National Union of Students (NUS)

Paul Marshall, CEO, NDTi

Karen Ingala Smith, Chief Executive, nia

Heléna Herklots CBE, Older People's Commissioner for Wales   

Peter Dawson, Director, Prison Reform Trust

Jo Hickman, Director, Public Law Project 

Paul Parker, Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain

Andy Gregg, Chief Executive, Race on the Agenda

James Tullet, Chief Executive, RAMFEL (Refugee & Migrant Forum of Essex and London)

Sally Bourton, Chair of Trustees, RAY (Refugee Action York)

Maurice Wren, Chief Executive, Refugee Council

Mia Hasenson-Gross, Executive Director, Rene Cassain

Rebecca Vincent, UK Bureau Director, Reporters Without Borders

Theo   Gavrielides, Director, Restorative Justice for All

Dr. Sarah Wishart, Interim CEO/Creative Director, RightsInfo

Estelle du Boulay, Director, Rights of Women

Yasmine Ahmed, Director, Rights Watch (UK)

Omar Khan, Director, Runnymede Trust

Eamon  P. K. Keane, Convenor, Scottish Legal Action Group

Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive, SCVO

Anna McEwan,  Executive Director of Support & Development, Shared Lives Plus

Shoaib M Khan, Partner,    SMK Law Solicitors

Pragna Patel, Director,  Southall Black Sisters

Heidi Travis, CEO, Sue Ryder

Alicja Zalesinska , Director, Tai Pawb

Matthew Evans,   Director, The AIRE Centre 

Frances Crook OBE, CEO, The Howard League for Penal Reform

Theo Gavrielides, Founder and Strategic Leader, The IARS International Institute

Yvonne MacNamara, CEO, The Traveller Movement

Juliet Harris, Director, Together- Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights

Cate Tuitt, Tower Hamlets Law Centre

Leila Zadeh, Executive Director, UKLGIG

Dr Jane Townson, Chief Executive, United Kingdom Homecare Association

Jérémie  Gilbert, Professor of Human Rights Law,  University of Roehampton

Alexandra Runswick, Director, Unlock Democracy

Eleri Butler, CEO, Welsh Women's Aid

Jonathan Toye, Coordinator, West Norfolk Disability information Service (WNDiS)

Joyce Kallevik, Director, Wish: A voice for women’s mental health

Vivienne Hayes  MBE, CEO, Women's Resource Centre

Zarin Hainsworth, Director, Widows' Rights International (WRI)

Liz Lockey, Coordinator, York Human Rights City Network

Tom Doyle, Chief Executive, Yorkshire MESMAC Group of Services

Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL)

James   Kenrick, Chief Executive ,Youth Access