10 December 2021


BIHR’s round-up of the week's top human rights news, from BIHR and beyond...

News from BIHR

1. We celebrated Human Rights Day 2021!

Did you know today is Human Rights Day? It’s observed on 10th December every year – the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This year, we celebrated with a virtual Human Rights Day event with talks from our inspiring partners at Warrington Speak Up, Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) and Wakefield Council Social Services as well as a BIHR Lived Experience Expert Consultant.

Warrington Speak Up shared their experience working with Human Rights Officer, Annie, on creating Easy Read resources that self-advocates could use when ensuring their rights are being looked after.

Together discussed the ways the Human Rights Act intersects with children’s rights and impact assessments, including cases where the Article 8 right to family and private life has helped protect children in care.

Wakefield Council Social Services talked about their experience of BIHR training and how it has helped them produce new frameworks for their staff to guide decision-making.

Charli, our Lived Experience Expert Consultant, gave an insight into her and others’ experiences in inpatient mental health settings and her work with BIHR to create a person-centred programme to help children and young people understand their rights before they reach crisis point and staff to understand and meet their legal duties.

Four logos. Left to right: Warrington Speak Up, Together (Scottish Alliance for Childrens Rights), Wakefield Council and image of Lived Experience Expert Charli

We also sent out our Human Rights Day 2021 letter challenging the Prime Minister to secure our Human Rights Act. The letter was co-signed by 159 Civil Society organisations, from charities to advice groups to campaigners.

Click here to read the letter, to watch a video version of the letter or to watch an Easy Read video of the letter.

For even more stories of why our Human Rights Act matters, you can also check out our dedicated blogs page with guest posts from individuals and organisations from a wide range of backgrounds. We shared a story every hour on our social media and you can click here to read them all.

Got your own story to share? It’s not too late to get involved! Tell us #WhyOurHumanRightsActMatters to you on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Two quotes. Left: Green background with speech bubble reading: Human rights are the basic rights that belong to all of us simply because were human. It doesnt matter if were adults of children, they matter to us because were human. They embody things


2. We joined Equally Ours for the launch of their report into ‘levelling up’ 

On Wednesday, we (virtually) attended an event held by our friends at Equally Ours to launch their report – Levelling Up: Firm Foundations. Equally Ours were joined by report author Belinda Pratten, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee – Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP, and Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities – Annaliese Dodds MP.

The report, which was supported by The Legal Education Foundation, presents an evidence base and a narrative for ‘levelling up’ from an equality and human rights perspective. The report puts a firm focus on people as well as places and asks that the government consider the inequalities that people face because intersectionality and their characteristics alongside socio-economic disadvantages caused by geography in their levelling up agenda.

The report makes several recommendations addressing:

  • A National Equality Strategy
  • People and places
  • A right to fair and decent work
  • A right to equal treatment at work
  • A right to social security
  • A right to a secure home
  • Accessibility

Click here to read ‘Levelling Up: Firm Foundations’.

Multicoloured background with white text reading: Levelling Up Firm Foundations December 2021

3. We spoke about the Human Rights Act at Rights Fest 21

On Tuesday, Annie Smith, one of our Human Rights Officers, delivered a talk at Rights Fest 21. The event, organised by Bradford Council and North Yorkshire County Council, was a festival to celebrate Human Rights Day on 10th December. In Annie's talk, she gave an introduction to the Human Rights Act and how it works, and shared stories from people talking about why the Human Rights Act matters to them. Annie asked over 150 people on the online event why the Human Rights Act matters to them - answers included that it protects everyone, it holds power to account, and it gives everyone a voice. See the image below for more of the audience's reasons!

Screenshot from Microsoft Teams of a British Institute of Human Rights staff member leading a workshop. Right side shows a picture of staff member. Left side is a word cloud titled Why do you think our Human Rights Act matters? Answers include protec

4. We discussed the right to a fair trial with Communicourt

Our director, Sanchita Hosali, spoke to Communicourt about learning disabilities and the criminal justice system.

Communicourt provides intermediaries for people with communication difficulties who are going through family and criminal proceedings. An intermediary is employed by the court to help everyone understand each other; they’re impartial in the case. Communicourt recently launched their Accessing Justice podcast and invited Sanchita on to speak about the right to a fair trial and how it impacts the people Communicourt work with. Sanchita talked about practical steps we can take to make sure everyone’s rights are protected and what the word ‘vulnerable’ really means.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Screenshot of Accessing Justice podcast from Spotify. Blue background with yellow justice scales logo. Reads: Accessing Justice Podcast Hosted by Communicourt.

News from elsewhere

1. MPs voted to pass the Nationality and Borders Bill

The Nationality and Borders Bill was voted through the House of Commons this week and now passes to the House of Lords. The Bill has been criticised, particularly by asylum and anti-slavery organisations for “leav[ing] survivors of trafficking who need support, including children, without help” and for being “incompatible with obligations under international human rights and maritime law.”

Source: inews

2. The High Court refused permission for judicial review of the hotel quarantine policy

PGMBM, acting for the claimants, argued that the government’s mandatory hotel quarantine policy could potentially breach Article 5 of the European Convention of Human Rights – the right to liberty and security of the person. However, the court found the scheme “satisfies the rigours of the standards of necessity and proportionality”. PGMBM have stated that they intend to appeal.

Source: Sky News

3. The Law Commission released its report on the reform of hate crime laws  

This week, the Law Commission released its final report following a consultation into hate crime law reform. The report recommends that laws be amended to include explicit protection of persons who are asexual and gender diverse as well as protection for the view that “sex is binary and immutable”. It also recommends that social media companies should not be liable for “stirring up hatred” where users interact with each other. It also recommends that new protection should be introduced for discussion and criticism of governments and immigration policies.

Click here to read the full report.