This week’s human-rights news includes predictions for next week’s Queen’s Speech and a free, online event all about our Human Rights Act.

News from BIHR

We’re hosting a free, online event about the Human Rights Act

We expect to hear more about plans to reform our Human Rights Act on Tuesday 10th May. Join us on Thursday 12th May to reflect on what has happened so far, learn about how the Human Rights Act works now and why it matters, and find out how you can take action.

BIHR will be launching our resources and sharing how we will be supporting advocacy and campaigning over the coming weeks.

Click here to save your spot.

We talked to young people and parents about human rights in CAMHS wards

On Thursday 5th May, we hosted an online workshop with young people accessing Children and Young People’s Mental Health Inpatient Services and their loved ones. The session was led by our Lived Experience Expert Consultant, Charli, and our Human Rights Officer, Annie.

This is part of our ongoing work with NHS England to build knowledge and capacity among both staff and young people and put human rights at the heart of everyday discussions and decisions in mental health services.

Click here to read about our work with NHS England.

We continued our work with the Scottish Recovery Consortium

We’ve been working with Scottish Recovery Consortium on our Rights In Recovery Leadership Programme: a series of workshops co-developed with people with lived experience of working with people in recovery.

This week, we spoke about human rights and mental healthcare including accessing support and using the Human Rights Act to make sure rights are looked after.

Click here to read about the Rights in Recovery programme.

We submitted a brief to the Joint Committee of Human Rights on our human rights training

The Joint Committee on Human Rights is currently collecting evidence on human rights in adult social care. They asked us for information about how we run human rights training for staff in public bodies, such as NHS workers. We sent them a briefing explaining our approach to training and the positive impact it can have on provision of care.

Click here to watch our CEO, Sanchita, giving oral evidence to the committee in March 2022.

 Three person icons holding up jigsaw pieces reading Human rights

News From Elsewhere

The Court of Appeal heard appeals of five whole-life orders

On Wednesday 4th May, the Court of Appeal heard challenges or appeals from five killers who were given “whole-life orders”. This means that they cannot be considered for parole or early release so will remain in prison until their death, unless they are, in exceptional circumstances, released on compassionate grounds at the discretion of the Home Secretary.

In 2013, the European Court of Human Rights found that whole-life orders breach of the Article 3 right to be free from inhuman torture because there is no prospect of release. However, the UK Court of Appeal disagreed on the basis that the Justice Secretary must take into account all exceptional circumstances when considering granting compassionate leave. In 2015, the European Court held that the Court of Appeal’s reasoning was sufficient and so whole-life orders are not a breach of human rights.

Source: The Justice Gap

Community leaders called on the Covid-19 Inquiry Chair to include race inequalities in its terms of reference

The UK Covid-19 Inquiry was set up to "examine the UK's preparedness and response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and to learn lessons for the future."

In March 2022, the Inquiry released its draft Terms of Reference. Terms of Reference set out the aims of an inquiry and how it plans to go about meeting these. The Inquiry will not look into any matters that aren't included in its Term of Reference.

Leaders of black, Asian and minority ethnic community groups have written to the chair, Lady Hallett, saying the terms “do not contain any direct focus on the significant inequalities experienced by ethnic minorities”. Signatories include representatives from the Race Equality Foundation, the Wai Yin Society, the Caribbean and African Health Network, the Asian People’s Disability Alliance and the Africa Advocacy Foundation.

Source: The Guardian

The Queen’s Speech is expected to include Human Rights Act reform

On 10th May, the Queen will read a speech announcing the Government’s plans for the next year. It is expected that this will include the Justice Secretary’s plans to “overhaul” our Human Rights Act in line with the Government’s recent consultation.

It’s also expected that the speech will include plans to give ministers powers to over-rule Parole Board decisions on releasing people from prison and plans to change the Mental Health Act.

Source: BBC News