27 August 2021

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

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News from BIHR

Our work with people accessing services

Over the summer we partnered with ten community groups and organisations to deliver free human rights workshops. These workshops aimed to build knowledge and confidence amongst people accessing (or trying to access) public services to use human rights in their lives. Following on from the workshops we are now writing a report about the impact this project has had on the people who came along. Here are some quotes from people who took part:

Visit our Impact hub to find out more about how our other projects have helped bring about change with people, communities, staff, and through policy.

Our work with community and advocacy groups

BIHR is working with 4 partner organisations to co-develop a human rights “solution” which supports their human rights advocacy work. The 4 fantastic organisations are:

We have moved on to the “mapping stage” of our new co-develop a human rights “solution” pilot project. This involves BIHR and our 4 partner organisations working together to find out what information already exists which could support their human rights advocacy work and, crucially, what extra information is needed. After we’ve done this, we will begin to co-develop and test a human rights “solution”.

Although we couldn’t work with all of the organisations that applied to this programme, we are hoping to do more of this work in the future and are already thinking about ways that we can work together with more partners in the future. There’s more information about this project on our website. Please email Eilidh Turnbull on [email protected] with any questions.

Our work with public services

This week, we have been preparing for our newly recruited Lived Experience Expert Consultants to begin working with us as part of our new CAMHS human rights programme funded by NHS England. This project focuses on building staff knowledge and capacity to positively and proactively uphold human rights when supporting children and young people with mental health issues. This is alongside support for young people, their families, carers, supporters and advocates to raise their concerns with services not simply as a matter of what is right, but what is legal, to self-advocate and find practical solutions.

We know from our work with staff, young people, families, supporters and advocates that meaningful change can be achieved, shifting power, by putting human rights at the heart of these everyday discussions and decisions in mental health services.

Find out more here.

Our policy work

Government Consultations and Human Rights Project

This week we have been spreading the word about our exciting new project all about government consultation. We want to hear from people and organisations that have experience engaging with consultation processes, and from those that have wanted to be  involved in a consultation but haven’t felt able to.

If you would like to share your experience of government consultation processes, you can:

  • Fill in our Easy Read survey to tell us what you think about government consultations in the UK.
  • Come along to one of our workshops in September. These workshops will provide a platform for you to engage with other stakeholders to discuss key frustrations around consultations, as well as sharing successes. Stories and data that we capture in our workshops will shape our research, matrix and final report.

We will be hosting the following workshops during September:

Please visit our project hub to learn more about this project and to register your place on of our workshops.

Week of Action on Human Rights: 10-17 October 2021

From 10-17 October 2021, the British Institute of Human Rights and other human rights organisations are holding a Week of Action on Human Rights in the UK.

One of the key things we are asking people to do during this week of action is to meet with their MPs in their local constituencies to show how much we care about human rights. We want to ask our MPs, the elected politicians who represent us, to protect our rights.

The Week of Action needs to happen because the UK government is attempting to change the law in a number of ways which could undermine our human rights as well as our ability to challenge decisions or actions that breach our rights.

In the run up to the Week of Action BIHR will be holding a free workshop: Supporting Our Human Rights Act: What you need to know. This is taking place on Monday 6th September 6pm – 7.30pm. You can register for this workshop here.

Click here to find out more about the campaign and how you can get involved.

BIHR Team News

This week the team were able to meet together in person. This was only the second time since the Covid-19 pandemic that we have all been able to work together in the same room (socially-distanced).

We used our team day to begin our strategic planning for Human Rights Day 2021. Look out for updates in our weekly news and social media closer to the time. 

Work with BIHR

BIHR is investing in the building a new website to create a new high quality, engaging platform that will effectively showcase BIHR's human rights support for our key stakeholders and share our charity's impact. We are looking for a freelance Project Manager to lead this work with us.

The deadline to submit an Expression of Interest for this work is 12pm on Monday 13 September 2021.

Click here to find out more about the role and how to submit an Expression of Interest.

News from elsewhere

Scotland launches its own judge led human rights based Covid inquiry

Scotland will establish its own inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic by the end of the year.

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the announcement at her Covid briefing and said that it would take a “person-centred, human rights-based approach”. The enquiry will investigate all areas within the remit of the Scottish government, including deaths in care homes.

The Guardian

Zimbabweans deported from UK now homeless

Some of those who were deported to Zimbabwe from the UK on a deportation flight in July are now homeless and destitute. Campaigners have been calling on the Home Office to stop another planned removal flight to Zimbabwe later this week.

Several of the people due to be deported include people who have been in Britain since they were young children.  Campaigners argue that the deportations are breaking up families and placing them at risk of “persecution, isolation and poverty”.

The Independent

NHS Mental Health Trust settles a civil complaint case with the family of a young man who took his own life shortly after being discharged from its care

A young man with long term mental health issues died by suicide in 2018 an hour and a half after being discharged from hospital. His family decided to pursue a civil case for damages arising out of his death. It was argued that by failing to keep him safe the trust had breached Reece’s right to life under Article 2 of the Human Rights Act.

Rye and Battle Observer

Disabled adults hit by steep rises in social care charges

Adults receiving care in England are being hit by a steep rise in the amount they have to pay towards the support they receive, BBC News research reveals. On average, disabled and frail people are being asked to contribute 13% more over the course of two years. 22 out of 83 councils that responded to the BBC’s Freedom of Information request said the charges have risen by the equivalent of £500 per person supported since 2018-19.

Directors of council care services say years of government funding cuts are to blame. Additionally, the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the demand for support and the financial strain on a care system already under pressure.

BBC News