Read about our work with community projects, an update on free school meals and a new Government group looking at protest rights.

News from BIHR

We worked on human rights resources with our community partners, Hopscotch

Hopscotch is a London charity that provides services for women experiencing inequality and abuse, including a homecare service. They’re one of the communities working with BIHR to co-design a human rights solution. This week, our Human Rights Officer, Katrin, met with staff from the women’s centre to discuss the best way to help advocates and service-users understand and access their rights and to progress our written resource tool.

Read more about our work with Hopscotch here.

We met with the Stop People Dying Young project about the Government’s response to our joint concerns about Do Not Resuscitate orders

In February 2022, Stop People Dying Too Young published an open letter to the Chair of the Ministerial Oversight Group on Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (MOG). Stop People Dying Too Young is a group of self-advocates including people with learning disabilities, autistic people and family carers.  The letter was produced in collaboration with Difference North East, Learning Disability England and BIHR and called on the MOG to include people with lived experience as members. This week, our CEO, Sanchita, met with Stop People Dying Too Young to discuss the MOG’s response to the letter and our next steps together.

Read more about the letter here.

We’re on the lookout for a new Administrative Assistant

There’s still time to join the BIHR team! We’re taking applications for a new Administrative Assistant until 10am on 04 April 2022.

We’re looking for someone with excellent admin skills and relevant experience interested in working in a small but dynamic human rights charity. We’re a remote-working organisation but some attendance at a central London co-working space is required for meetings, induction and training.

Find out more about the role and apply here.

Our monthly e-news is going out next week – get on the list!

Stay up to date with the latest in UK human rights news with our monthly email newsletter! This month’s edition will go out on 30th March 2022 and will include our work on Human Rights Act reform, our CEO’s first in-person speaking engagement since March 2020 and an update on our work with community projects.

Sign up to our e-news here.

Stack of newspapers

News from elsewhere

Redress want to hear from survivors of torture, their families and professionals working with them

Human rights organisation Redress pursues legal claims on behalf of survivors of torture. They’re currently conducting a study into what “justice” and “reparation” mean to people in the UK with lived experience of torture and what barriers there are that prevent them from obtaining it.

Redress have created an online survey for survivors or victims of torture and their families as well as those with professional experience of working with survivors on these issues. They will use the responses to create a report to increase public awareness and drive advocacy and campaigning.

You can respond to the survey here.

Children from families with no recourse to public funds will stay eligible for free school meals

Families who have “no recourse to public funds” (NRPF) because of their immigration status are not allowed to claim benefits or housing assistance. This used to mean that children from these families who were in Year 3 or above couldn’t get free school meals. However, in 2020, the Government temporarily extended free school meals to some children from families with NRPF. On 24th March 2022, the Government announced this extension has been made permanent, so these children can continue to access free school meals and may also be eligible for free school transport. They will also be eligible for “pupil premium funding”, which is paid directly to the school to help them improve education for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

You can read the Government’s statement here.

The Care Quality Commission released a progress update on its report into care services for people with mental health conditions and learning disabilities

In October 2020, the Care Quality Commission released a report called “Out of sight – who cares?” which looked at restraint, seclusion and segregation in care services or people with a mental health condition, a learning disability or autistic people. It called for more person-centred care, increased accountability, reduced restrictive practice and support to live in communities.

In March 2022, the Commission published a progress report that found none of the 17 recommendations from the report have been fully achieved and only 4 have been partly achieved. It said, “people’s human rights continue to be at risk” and leaders need to promote knowledge and understanding of rights and reasonable adjustments need to be put in place for autistic people and people with learning disabilities. The report recognised BIHR’s work in supporting inpatient units to help people in inpatient units understand and access their rights.

You can read the progress report here.

A new Scottish working group will look at human rights in relation to protests

The Scottish Government has set up a new independent group on marches and parades. The group will look at challenges in balancing the human rights of protest organisers and participants with the rights of the communities impacted by the events. The group is due to release a report on its initial findings in summer 2022.

Source: Scottish Government

The High Court refused a human rights claim because too much time had passed

In 2017, Sarhad Rafiq was evicted from his council house after his last asylum claim was refused. He had to live on the streets and this worsened his mental-health issues. Sarhad’s lawyers wrote to the council to say this was a breach of his Article 3 right to be free from inhuman and degrading treatment. The council decided to rehouse him and Sarhad did not make a claim for damages. In 2019, Sarhad spoke to some new lawyers who helped him bring a claim for damages. Human rights cases are usually expected to be brought within one year but they can be brought later if the court thinks it’s fair. However, in Sarhad’s case, the court said that it would be too hard to get reliable evidence now and that the cost and burden on the public authority wouldn’t be proportionate.

Click here to read the case.

The High Court will decide whether the police are allowed to download data from a woman’s mobile phone

On 5th February 2021, Richard Boyle died in Belfast after being hit by a car. The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) have now said they want to search the phone of a woman who was not involved in the crash because they think her phone might have information about someone who was arrested in relation to Richard’s death. The woman believes this is a breach of her Article 8 right to private life and is also unlawful because the PSNI do not have the right to access her phone under the Data Protection Act. The case will be heard by the High Court in April 2022.

Source: Irish News