The British Insitute of Human Rights has joined voices with 20 other organisations to raise concerns about the watering down of human rights protections in the EU (Withdrawal) Bill. Despite the Government's repeated assurances that rights will not be weakened following Brexit, the Withdrawal Bill removes the Charter of Fundamental Rights from our law. 

The following joint statement was published in The Observer on 14 January, backed up by a independent legal advice from Jason Coppel QC, requested by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, available here:

“The EU (Withdrawal) Bill - returning to the House of Commons this week - will not protect people’s rights in the UK as the Government promised. This is in large part because the Bill removes the Charter of Fundamental Rights from our law.

The Charter protects rights important to all of us: including rights to dignity, protection of personal data and health; and protections for workers, women, children, and older, LGBTI and disabled people.

The Government’s analysis of the Charter repeats its assurance that rights will not be weakened following Brexit. However, independent legal advice shows this to be wrong.

Losing it creates a human rights hole because the Charter provides some rights and judicial remedies that have no clear equivalents in UK law.

Furthermore, by keeping the wide and complex body of EU law while throwing away the Charter which is the code to unlock it, the Government risks creating confusion, jamming itself in a mountain of legal cases.

Rights without remedies are just symbols. We need legal guarantees in the Bill about the kind of society we want to be after Brexit. For the Government to honour its promise of preserving existing rights it must retain the protections in the Charter.”

The full list of signatories is below:

Adam Wagner, Barrister

Amnesty International UK

British Institute of Human Rights

Children's Rights Alliance for England


Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

Equality and Diversity Forum

Equality and Human Rights Commission

Fawcett Society

Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES)

Jonathan Cooper OBE

Just Fair


National Aids Trust

National Alliance of Women's Organisations (NAWO)

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

Schona Jolly QC

Scottish Human Rights Commission

UK Race and Europe Network

UK Women’s Budget Group

Unlock Democracy

Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children