This week's news includes our new Easy Read guide to the Rights Removal Bill, our meetings with MPs and parliamentarians and a new Home Affairs Select Committee report into migration and asylum.

News from BIHR

We worked with Pembrokeshire People First on our Easy Read guide to the Rights Removal Bill

In this guide, we talk about the Government’s plan to replace the Human Rights Act and how these changes could affect us all. The guide was checked by advocates from Pembrokeshire People First – a campaigning group run by & for people with learning disabilities and/or autism.

Click here to read the full guide.

We’ve put together a RITES Committee of experts-by-experience

Every day we hear stories of people whose lives were changed by our #HumanRightsAct. It’s important everyone else hears those stories too. We’ve set up the RITES Committee: experts-by-experience helping us campaign against the Rights Removal Bill.

So far, the experts from our committee have contributed to our briefing to the Joint Committee on Human Rights, sharing their insights into the ways the proposed changes put all our human rights at risk.

Read more about the RITES Committee.

We’ve created a new template letter to help you write to your MP about the Rights Removal Bill

We need as many as people as possible to continue raising awareness of the risks to our human rights from the Rights Removal Bill. One way you can do this is to write to your MP to show how much you care about human rights. We want to ask MPs, the elected politicians who represent us, to protect our rights.

Before the Rights Removal Bill was published, we created a postcard campaign to help people contact their MPs and ask them to stand up for our human rights. Now we have the text of the Bill, we have created a new template letter that sets out our key concerns with the Rights Removal Bill.

Use our template letter to write to your MP.

We shared our Human Rights Act in Practice guide to talking about the positive impact of the Act

At BIHR, we see the value of the Human Rights Act every day in our work with people accessing services, community and advocacy groups, and staff working in public services. Drawing on our work, our new guide provides practical examples of how the Human Rights Act benefits people across the UK to live with dignity and respect

Click here to read the guide.

The Rights Removal Bill is scheduled for a second reading on 12th September 2022

On 21st July 2022, the Government confirmed the Rights Removal Bill will have its second reading on 12th September 2022. We’ve made a video about what a second reading involves:

Click here to find out more about the different stages of a Bill.

We vlogged about meeting MPs and creating parliamentary briefings

It's really important those in Parliament understand our concerns with the Rights Removal Bill, since it's those in Parliament that will be deciding whether or not this Bill becomes law. This week our Head of Policy, Carlyn, and Senior Human Rights Officer, Katrin, met with Anne McLaughlin, SNP MP for Glasgow North East and spokesperson on Justice and Immigration. In our latest vlog, our Human Rights Officer Florence talks about our work on parliamentary briefings and meeting with MPs in more detail including our meeting with Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, Steve Reed to discuss our concerns with the Rights Removal Bill.

Click here for regular vlog updates on our work on the Rights Removal Bill.


We met the Joint Committee on Human Rights to talk about the Rights Removal Bill

On Tuesday 19th July 2022, our Head of Policy, Carlyn, met with Committee Specialist of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Liam. We discussed our work so far and the Committee’s plans to tackle the Rights Removal Bill, identifying areas where we can work together to protect our Human Rights Act.

Click here to find our work so far on the Rights Removal Bill.

We shared our resource to support human rights advocacy, co-created with Room to Heal

Room to Heal supports refugees and people seeking asylum who are torture survivors to rebuild their lives in exile, through an integrated programme of therapeutic and casework assistance in the context of a community of survivors. Room to Heal are based in London.

Room to Heal worked with BIHR to develop accessible human rights information for Room to Heal members and staff so that they feel confident to use the language of human rights in their interactions with public services. We've created guides and sample letters for refugees, people seeking asylum and those supporting them. You can find them on our website in English, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish and Tigrinya.

Click here to access the guides.


News from elsewhere

Advocacy organisation POhWER asked people who human rights are for

As part of POhWER’s Human Rights Vox pop film series, CEO Helen Moulinos asked the public who human rights are for. People said “everybody, absolutely everybody” and “it shouldn’t be to one specific person, one specific group of people – it’s to humans. We’re all humans.”

Click here to watch the video.

Liberty’s Director, Martha Spurrier, spoke to the Still We Rise podcast about the Rights Removal Bill.

Martha highlighted the importance of our Human Rights Act and the “many, many cases where human rights have been the difference between life and death, the difference between justice and injustice, whether you’re talking about the Hillsborough families or the victims of the black cab rapist John Worboys, whether you’re talking about Windrush families – all of these people who will have only had the Human Rights Act to rely on.”

Click here to listen to the podcast.

The Home Affairs Select published a report into channel crossings and the UK’s approach to immigration and asylum

The report comes as a part of an inquiry into the UK’s handling of migration, recognising that “at least 166 have died or gone missing as they sought a new home in our country, 27 of them lost at sea on a single terrible day last November. Organised criminal networks are profiting hugely from human desperation.”

It said the “overall numbers of people seeking asylum in the UK are not exceptional either within the UK’s recent history or by comparison with the numbers applying to EU member states. More significant are the facts that decision-making within the asylum system is hindered by outdated technology and high staff turnover; the number of people requiring state support, while waiting increasingly long periods for those decisions, has exceeded the available supply of accommodation; and new arrangements for the return or transfer to Europe of people whose claim for asylum is not to be considered in the UK, together with provisions for safe and legal family reunion in the UK, remain unresolved following the UK’s exit from the EU.”

Click here to read the full report.

Source: The Guardian

The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) released their report into protecting human rights in care settings in England 

Following its inquiry into protecting human rights in care settings in England, the JCHR today (22 July 2022) released their report which  highlights multiple concerns on how the rights of residents in care settings and their loved ones have been, and continue to be, risked, and makes recommendations to Government on how these issues should be addressed. 

The inquiry consisted of a call for written evidence, online survey, and five oral evidence sessions attended by panels of experts, including BIHR’s CEO Sanchita Hosali on 9th March 2022. 

Click here to read BIHR's news story about the report. 

The Joint Committee on Human Rights released their third report into the adoption of children of unmarried women

In September 2021, the Joint Committee on Human Rights launched an inquiry called “The right to family life: adoption of children of unmarried women 1949–1976”. This inquiry was set up to look at whether adoption process at that time respected human rights as we understand them now.

The inquiry looked at the right to family and private life under Article 8 and said, “the adoption practices that we have heard about lacked humanity and had a profound impact on the family lives of all involved. Many mothers were left feeling they had no real choice in the placement for adoption of their children. The Government was ultimately responsible for the actions and omissions that led to a lack of protection for unmarried mothers and their babies, including by a failure to ensure that there was a set of clear standards of behaviour for all those working in the adoption system at the time.”

Click here to read the full report.