12 November 2021

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

News from BIHR

1. Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) Decisions: BIHR is supporting the campaign led by the Stop People Dying Too Young group.

Alongside our friends at Inclusion North, Learning Disability England, Difference North East, BIHR are supporting the Stop People Dying Too Young group’s campaign to the UK Government about their actions on DNARs.

The Stop People Dying Too Young group is made up of self advocates and family carers working in the North East on Leder – the learning from lives and death programme. The group represents the interests of people with a learning disability, autistic people, and families; it is supported by Inclusion North. Find out more about the group here

The campaign is asking the Ministerial Oversight Group on Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation to involve people with lived experience in their work. The Ministerial Oversight Group was set up after the Care Quality Commission wrote a report called ‘Protect, Respect, Connect – decisions about living and dying well during Covid-19’. Find out about the experience-based research BIHR led with people on the use of DNAR orders, and our input to the CQC report here.

The Stop People Dying Too Young group have co-produced a letter that to the Ministerial Oversight Group. You can read the letter here or click on the image below. Over 80 organisations have already signed the letter, showing this is an issue that lots of us have concerns about, to encourage the Ministerial Oversight Group to listen and act. You add your name to the letter before 26 November 2021 Here.

2. Our Human Rights Act Matters:

At BIHR we are passionate about the Human Rights Act, and we know that it is more important than ever to be making clear to those in power that we believe our Human Rights Act Matters. We hear hundreds of stories every year from people that have used the Act to gain protection against decisions made by public authorities that would breach their human rights. These stories tell us why our Human Rights Act matters.

In the run up to this year’s Human Rights Day (on 10 December) we are asking people, groups, and organisations all across the country to share with us “Why our Human Rights Act matters…”. 

This week, we have published tree brilliant new additions to our #WhyOurHumanRightsActMatters blog series (here).

Sandra Coulter, CEO of Silverline memories wrote why our Human Rights Act matters to people with dementia. Sandra powerfully explains why it is so important for people with dementia to retain their right to a family life – as protected by the Act. You can read Sandra’s blog here.

Dr Donald Macaskill, CEO of Scottish Care, shared a personal account of why the HRA is so important. ‘It matters in those moments of silence when I’ve sat with those close to death… because these human rights bring to life what dignity really means and what humanity can truly be.’, you can read Dr Macaskill’s blog here.

Tim Gee, Human Rights Campaigner and Advocate, wrote about his perspective as a Christian, and why the Human Rights Act matters to him. He shared the story of Amnesty International’s origin, and how he followed in the founders footsteps working to protect human rights by adopting the golden rule – ‘treat others in the way that we wish to be treated ourselves.’ Read Tim’s blog here.

We have many more interesting and insightful guest blogs coming in the next few weeks. If you would like to take part in our campaign you can share a photo of your reasons for #WhyOurHumanRightsActMatters and share it on social media (remember to tag us or use #WhyOurHumanRightsActMatters).

Click here to find out more about our campaign and other events.

3. BIHR holds a roundtable event to talk about government consultations

On Tuesday we held a roundtable event to talk about our research on government consultations, including everything that we have been told about government consultation processes by people accessing services, communities, staff work in public authorities, and policy organisations. The event was a chance for people that have been involved in our project to discuss our data and start thinking about next steps for the project.

We spoke about creating a checklist to measure if a consultation process is rights-respecting (more to come on this soon!) and what joint actions we could take as civil society colleagues if a consultation doesn’t give everyone a chance to be heard.

Below, is a snapshot of our data telling us about what people think of government consultation processes. You can find out more about the project here

4. Community Project Hub

From July 2021, we have been developing our approach to working with communities through our new Co-design a human rights support “solution” with BIHR project.

This new programme of work seeks to support community groups and voluntary groups to find human rights “solutions” to problems or issues they face. Initially, the aim is to develop this approach with a small number of partners as pilot project, to then develop our long-term offer to community groups. Our support is intended to enable groups to address the day-to-day issues where rights are risked, creating positive change within imperfect systems.

We are delighted to be working with four fantastic organisations to bring this project to life: Hopscotch, Room to Heal, Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights), and Warrington Speak Up.

Co-design is at the core of this project. Our approach to co-design will use the below 4-stage process to ensure that the views and opinions of our partners and the eventual end “users” of the solution are central to the development.

To find out more about this exciting project – visit our hub here.

5. Why the Human Rights Act Matters: An introduction to campaigning workshop

We held a free online workshop on Wednesday 10th November between 6-7.30pm, where we met people that are interested in our  "Why our Human Rights Act Matters" campaign. The workshop focused on:

  • What the Human Rights Act is – and why we need to protect it
  • More about the #WhyOurHumanRightsActMatters campaign
  • Top tips for taking action- including how influence your MP
  • Getting involved in the "Why our Human Rights Act Matters" campaign.

To learn more about the campaign, click here


Human Rights News from elsewhere

Amnesty International: Public protest and our concerns about Police Scotland

As protests began across the UK ahead of COP26, some commentators were quick to brand activists extremists – but the truth is that peaceful protest is one of the most effective ways for ordinary people to claim their rights.

Source: Herald Scotland. Read more here

Married lesbian couple launch discrimination action against NHS

A married lesbian couple are launching a landmark legal test case against a branch of the NHS fertility sector in England, claiming it discriminates against LGBT+ families.

Source: Guardian. Read more here

Covid-19: Vaccines to be compulsory for frontline NHS staff in England

It will become compulsory for frontline NHS staff in England to be fully vaccinated against Covid, the health secretary has confirmed. Sajid Javid told MPs that he expected to set a deadline for the beginning of April to give 103,000 unvaccinated workers time to get both jabs.

He said the move would help protect patients and the NHS as a whole. Concerns have been raised that it could lead some workers to leave, adding to healthcare staffing issues.

Source: BBC. Read more here