8 October 2021

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

News from BIHR

Our Human Rights Act Matters

At BIHR we hear evidence and stories of why our Human Rights Act matters everyday.

The future of the Human Rights Act has been in the headlines this week. Right now, it is more important than ever to be making clear to those in power that we believe our Human Rights Act Matters. We know there are hundreds of stories and reasons out there as to why people, groups and organisations know that 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…”. 

If you would like to take part in our campaign you can print out the sign below (or make your own sign like Eilidh!) and write on it your reasons for #WhyOurHumanRightsActMatters. Then take a photo of yourself holding the sign and tag @BIHRhumanrights on social media. 


Click here to read our blog series in which people and organisations are tell us why our Human Rights Act matter to them.

Click here to find out more about our free lunch and learn sessions about why our Human Rights Act matters.

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

Do you want updates on BIHR's plans for Human Rights Day 2021? Click here to register your interest.

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.

On Monday 4th October our director took part on a panel of experts as part of the Week of Action. The panel discussed the threat to the Human Rights Act and two Bills currently passing through Parliament.

Our Human Rights Officer’s Annie and Natalie have been blogging about how they are taking action and how you can follow in their footsteps. Natalie was able to meet with her MP Andy Slaughter in person this week. Click here to find out what happened.

Want to get involved in the Week of Action?

  • Click here for our 12-step guide on how to influence your MP.
  • Click here for a captioned recording of BIHR’s workshop about why the Human Rights Act is worth saving and what you can do!
  • Attend Just Fair and the Social Right’s Alliance workshop on tackling poverty as a human rights issue on Monday 11th October 1-3pm. Register here.

Government Consultations and Human Rights

Last week we had our final workshop in which we spoke to staff about their experience of taking part in Government Consultations.

Here is how some of the participants on the workshop felt about Government Consultations:

The stories and data that we capture in our workshops will be included in our final report and support the co-production of a matrix which can be used to ensure a rights-respecting approach to government consultations, something we believe is much needed! You can read more about the project here.

Get involved

If you missed the workshops, you can also fill in our survey and share your experience with us. Click here for a plain English version with no images. Click here for an Easy Read version of the survey.

NEW RESOURCES! Cameras in health and social care and human rights

Since July 2021, we've been working in partnership with the Restraint Reduction Network to create new resources aimed at helping individuals and organisations to know their rights and responsibilities around surveillance and human rights.

These resources are now available and include:

  • An easy read guide to the use of cameras in health and social care
  • A plain language version
  • A joint resource on surveillance as a restrictive practice
  • An easy download poster on surveillance and human rights
  • A blog by RRN Manager, Alexis Quinn

BIHR and the RRN will also be running a webinar soon: ‘Surveillance: A rights-based approach’. Sign up to our waiting list to be notified when webinar registration is available.


Human rights in Children and Young People's Mental Health Services

This Sunday, 10th October is #WorldMentalHealthDay

As part of BIHR’s Human Rights in Children’s Inpatient Mental Health Services project, funded by NHS England, we are running FIVE open access free human rights workshops.

These workshops are for children, young people, parents, loved ones, self/advocates and lived experience groups. 

The first of these free workshops is taking place on 2nd November, 10:30am -12pm. Register here for the workshop.

Click here to find out more about the workshops.

News from elsewhere

1. Priti Patel announces powers for the police to stop certain protestors from travelling to particular protests

Home Secretary, Priti Patel, announced that protesters disrupting motorways will be prevented from travelling around the country under criminal disruption prevention orders.  

This would give courts power to prevent individuals with a history of disruption or where there is intelligence suggesting they are likely to commit a criminal offence from attending particular protests. It will also become an offence for protestors to disrupt critical national infrastructure.

The Conservatives are proposing to make these changes through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which is currently progressing through parliament.

Source: The Guardian

2. Dominic Raab announces his intention to overhaul the Human Rights Act

In his speech at the Conservative Party conference, Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab, announced that he intends to overhaul the Human Rights Act before the next general election.

Many campaign groups have expressed their concern at any potential weakening of the Human Rights Act.

In December 2020 the Government announced an Independent Review to the Human Rights Act. It is expected that the Independent Review panel will publish its report before Christmas 2021.

Source: The Independent

You can read about BIHR's #WhyOurHumanRightsActMatters campaign here

3. Home Office work policy for asylum seekers unlawful

The High Court has ruled that Home Office policy on granting asylum seekers permission to work broke the law by not adequately considering the adverse impact this might have on children. The judge has urged ministers to take a more “human approach” to decisions about asylum seekers right to work.

Source: The Independent

4. Specialist human rights tribunal decides that Metropolitan Police breached the human rights of women who were subject to undercover police surveillance.

The tribunal identified a list of breaches by the Metropolitan Police of fundamental human rights such as  bodily integrity and privacy of the women subject to undercover surveillance. It decided that there was no lawful justification for these breaches.

Source Freshfields. You can read more here  

5. Supreme Court finds four aspects of the UNCRC Scotland Bill outside of the legal competence of Scottish Parliament.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court reached the judgement that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) can not yet be incorporated into Scottish Law. This is because aspects of the Bill fall outside the legal competence of Scottish Parliament. These parts of the Bill need to be amended and looked at again before it can be made law in Scotland.

You can read the judgement here.