This week’s human rights news includes our final Lunch & Learn Campaigning Workshop and an update on legal challenges to the Rwanda policy. 

News from BIHR 

We spoke to public body staff about human rights in social care 

On Thursday 9th June 2022, our Human Rights Officer, Annie, met with staff working in Social Services to talk about respecting and protecting human rights in everyday policy, practice and decisions.  

Annie discussed the Hillingdon v Neary case that was decided exactly 11 years ago. In this case, then-21-year-old Steven, who has autism and a severe learning disability, was kept in a care unit for over one year against his and his father’s wishes. It was only when his Independent Mental Capacity Advocate and solicitor raised his Article 8 right to family life and Article 5 right to liberty that Steven was able to return home.  

Steven’s father, Mark, said our Human Rights Act “saved Steven’s life. If we hadn’t used the Act to challenge the decisions about his care, Steven would have faced a life in public care he didn’t want or need and he would now be living in Wales with only Skype contact with me. It’s a horrendous thought.”  
 
Click here to read more about Steven’s story. 

 


We talked about Rights in Recovery and Family Life with Scottish Recovery Consortium
 

As part of our ongoing Rights in Recovery Leadership programme with Scottish Recovery Consortium, we led an interactive workshop on the right to family life and how this might impact people in recovery from substance use. 

Human Rights Officer Natalie and Assistant Human Rights Officer Katie talked about family life from the perspective of children, parents, and authorities, including the legal duties on social workers and family courts. 


We held our final Lunch & Learn Campaigning Workshop
 

We held our fourth and final Lunch & Learn Campaigning Workshop. The theme was “taking action together” and BIHR staff joined attendees in writing to our MPs to ask them to stand up for our human rights. 

If you want to get involved, you can find template letters on our website that you can use to contact your MP to share your concerns and ask them to take action.  

Click here to get the template letters. 

News From Elsewhere 

The Government said it doesn’t plan to submit its new Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny 

The Government is planning to introduce a new Bill that will replace our Human Rights Act. Last month, the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Justice Committee and Lords Constitution Committee all wrote to the Government calling for this Bill to be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny. 

This would give Parliamentary Committees the chance to examine the Bill and make recommendations to the Government before the text is finalised. The Government’s guide to making legislation says “pre-legislative scrutiny is desirable. It allows thorough consultation while the bill is in a more easily amendable form, and makes it easier to ensure that both potential parliamentary objections and stakeholder views are elicited.” 

However, in response to a recent question in Parliament, the Government said it does not plan to submit the Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny. 

Source: They Work For You 

The High Court heard an application to stop asylum seekers being sent to Rwanda 

On Friday 10th June 2022, the High Court heard a case brought by Detention Action, Care4Calais, PCS Union and four asylum seekers. They asked the Court to issue an injunction that would stop the Home Office from sending the asylum seekers to Rwanda on Tuesday 14th June 2022. 

They argued, among other things, that the Home Office’s policy does not comply with the Human Rights Act. Because of the urgency of the situation, a decision is expected to be made quickly.  

Source: Sky News 

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commissioner said the Troubles Legacy Bill is “in breach of the Human Rights Act” 

The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill proposed by the UK Government would establish an Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery that would be responsible for investigations into Troubles-related deaths and serious injuries. The Bill would allow people to request to exchange information for immunity from prosecution. It would also prevent future inquests and civil actions related to the Troubles.  

On Tuesday 7th June 2022, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commissioner gave evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee about the Bill, saying, “it’s clearly in breach of the Human Rights Act...We cannot see a way in which the Bill can be made compatible when taken as a whole.” 

Source: ITV News