This week's news includes our vlog on writing to your MP and an update in the Archie Battersbee case.

News from BIHR

We vlogged about our new template letters to help you write to your MP

On 22nd June 2022, the Government published its Rights Removal Bill, which represents the latest step in plans to reduce their responsibilities to uphold the human rights protections people rely on every day across the UK. We’ve created updated template letters that you can use to contact your MP and share your concerns.

Human Rights Officer Lauren talked about contacting her MP and why it’s so important that those in Parliament know about our concerns.

Use our template letter to write to your MP.

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

We met with MPs Martyn Day and Marion Fellows to talk about the Rights Removal Bill

On Wednesday 27th July, Head of Policy Carlyn met with Marion Fellows, SNP MP for Motherwell and Wishaw and SNP spokesperson for Disabilities. They discussed our concerns with the Rights Removal Bill and specifically its impact on disabled people. For example, the Rights Removal Bill would stop public authorities from interpreting other laws compatibly wherever possible when they’re delivering care. It would also remove the positive obligations on public bodies to take proactive steps to protect our rights.

On Thursday 28th July, Carlyn and Human Rights Officer Annie also met with Martyn Day, SNP MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk and SNP spokesperson for Health and Social Care.

In the video below, Human Rights Officer Florence talks more about our parliamentary work.

We shared our blog on interim measures and the Rights Removal Bill

Clause 24 of the Government’s Rights Removal Bill tells UK courts not to take account of any interim measure issued by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) when determining whether someone’s human rights are at risk. 

Interim measures are very rare, but they’ve been in the news lately because they were used in a recent case brought by people seeking asylum when the UK Government attempted to send them to Rwanda. We’ve put together a short guide to what interim measures are, how they work and how they have been applied in the UK.

Click here to read the blog.

BIHR Blog: Interim Measures

We talked to Adult Social Care staff in Somerset about human rights in practice

BIHR are currently delivering a human rights, equalities and social justice learning programme for Somerset County Council. On Tuesday 26th July, Human Rights Officer Katie ran our latest workshop, designed to increase knowledge on human rights and help to embed a culture of respect for human rights within the local authority.

Click here to read more about our work with Somerset County Council.

Attending the training gives us the opportunity to expand our thinking while discussing each of the human rights - participant quote

News from elsewhere

Please be aware that the external human rights news BIHR shares weekly contains difficult and potentially triggering issues. This week triggers include cases concerning sexual assault and death of a child.

Unison sent a pre-action letter to the Business Secretary about new strike regulations

On Thursday 21st July, the Government introduced The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2022. These change the law so that temp agencies can now supply temporary workers to cover staff who are striking.

Unison says it “intends to show that the government is in breach of Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights​, which protects the right to strike, and international labour standards.”

Source: Unison

A woman is bringing a case against Greater Manchester Police for failing to investigate after she was raped

In 1998, a victim referred to as “Susan” was raped at knife point. She was a teenager at the time and says the perpetrator was known to her and was someone she had had consensual sex with before. Susan reported the rape to the police and underwent a personal examination at St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre to gather forensic evidence. However, Susan says the police then told her that her case would not be taken further because the rape would be “difficult to prove”.

Susan says she subsequently suffered depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts as a result of her inability to obtain justice. She submitted a complaint to the Greater Manchester Police and says the response notes "“multiple errors” – including failures to keep paperwork, records of arrest, failures to retain victim samples and other failures.”

Susan is bringing a claim for misfeasance in public office (when a public official doesn’t meet the duties they owe to people accessing services) and for a breach of her Article 3 right to be free from inhuman or degrading treatment – on the basis that the police failed to meet their positive obligation to investigate the case, which exposed her to this kind of treatment. This obligation was confirmed in the John Worboys case.

Source: The Oldham Times

The Supreme Court refused permission to appeal in the Archie Battersbee case

In April 2022, 12-year-old Archie Battersbee’s mum found him unconscious at home. He was taken to hospital and has remained in a coma ever since. The hospital treating Archie said they believe Archie is brain-stem dead and asked the Court to say that it was lawful for them to stop the treatment that was keeping his heart beating.

The High Court and the Court of Appeal agreed with the hospital. Archie’s parents applied to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal but this was refused on Thursday 28th July. The Supreme Court said that while it “has great sympathy with the plight of Archie’s devoted parents and recognises the emotional pain which they are suffering”, the Court of Appeal had followed the law correctly when it made its judgment.

Source: Supreme Court

HEAR Equality and Human Rights Network is recruiting an Administrator and Digital Inclusion Worker

BIHR are a long-standing member of the HEAR Equality and Human Rights Network. HEAR support London’s voluntary and community sector network, working in equality and human rights. It supports member organisations through connections, sharing information, expertise, knowledge, events, research, networking, campaigns, and more recently, the exploration of technology for mapping and information as well as digital inclusion.

It's looking for a part-time Administrator and Digital Inclusion Worker. Applications close at 5pm on Monday 5th September 2022.

Click here to find out more about the job.