News from BIHR

Our Human Rights Sessions

At BIHR we work across the UK, supporting people, staff and communities to create change using human rights. Our August is looking very busy indeed with lots of human rights sessions, delivered to Local Councils, or in partnership with other organisations. We’re really looking forward to them as a chance to engage with lots of different groups of people across the country and help them understand more about human rights and what they mean.

Yesterday, 12 August, we enjoyed delivering a free session with the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland. Other partners we are working with this month include:

  • Down’s Syndrome Scotland
  • All Wales People First

You can read more about our work here!



Read our latest plain language Explainer! This one is all about judicial review – a really powerful legal tool everyday people have to hold the Government and public bodies to account.  If you’re keen to understand what judicial review is and hear more about the UK Government’s new panel which is reviewing judicial review, then this one’s for you. You can read it here!

We also have a new set of Explainers on the laws on face coverings across the UK. We know it can be confusing understanding where and when you have to where a face covering, and who is exempt – especially when it’s different in all four nations of the UK! Hopefully our Explainers will help – find them all here.


BIHR Evidence to the JCHR Inquiry

Throughout July, we have been busy gathering evidence through our Communities of Practice platform, surveys and our direct work across the UK. Our policy responses are directly informed by people’s real-life experiences of the issues, drawn from our work to support people to benefit from their human rights in their daily experiences.

To focus our work, we collected evidence from three groups we work with:

  1. People accessing (or trying to access) health and care;
  2. Staff working in health and care during Covid-19; and
  3. Advocates and campaigners

We’re still working on our full reports and easy read versions of our findings, which will be published very soon.

In the meantime, find out more here, and read a summary of our key human rights findings from this work here.


News from Elsewhere...

Family of disabled NI woman Pauline O'Donnell 'discriminated' over bereavement payments, court rules

“The family of a severely disabled woman in Northern Ireland were discriminated against by the refusal of bereavement payments following her death, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Senior judges found no justification for denying the benefit to Pauline O'Donnell's husband and children because she was never able to work and make National Insurance contributions.

They held that provisions within the Pensions Act (Northern Ireland) 2015 are incompatible with human rights law.”

Belfast Telegraph, 10 August 2020



Care packages halved for most people with learning disabilities during Covid, report carers

“Care packages have at least halved for most people with learning disabilities during the Covid-19 lockdown as their needs have increased, carers have reported.

The impact has been reduced independence, poorer health and more pressures on carers, found the online survey of 1,069 family members and carers carried out by Mencap in late June and the first half of July.”

Community Care, 10 August 2020


Care home residents 'losing will to live' amid Covid restrictions in England

“Many English care home residents feel as if they are in prison amid seemingly endless coronavirus restrictions on their activities and visitors, with a number “losing the will to live”, a committee of MPs has been told by charities.

One charity told the MPs that its helpline had been told that someone in a care home felt they would “rather die than carry on living like this”.

Groups working with care residents said there needed to be a better balance between protecting vulnerable people from Covid-19, and the mental and physical toll of strictly limited visits and lack of interaction, the all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus heard.”

The Guardian​, 12 August 2020


Asylum seeker removal flight to go ahead despite last-minute court action

“A charter flight to remove asylum seekers who recently arrived in the UK on small boats is due to take off despite last-minute high court actions in the early hours of Wednesday morning and other interventions which have led to at least 19 people not boarding the plane.”

The Guardian, 12 August 2020