News from BIHR

Our briefing for the JCHR: Standing firm on our Human Rights Act and rejecting the new Rights Removal Bill

This week we sent a briefing to the Joint Committee on Human Rights, making the case for keeping our Human Rights Act and sharing our concerns about the Government's new "bill of rights" Bill, better known as a Rights Removal Bill. The Joint Committee on Human Rights is a group of cross-party MPs and Peers responsible for examining matters relating to human rights in the UK.

Our briefing gives information about how our Human Rights Act currently works in practice with real life examples from BIHR's work, sets out 10 key concerns about how the Rights Removal Bill would weaken human rights protections in the UK, and suggests questions to pose to the Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab, when he eventually faces the Committee to answer questions about his Bill.

BIHR's work was mentioned in the House of Lords' debate on the practical impact of the Human Rights Act

On Thursday, Peers in the House of Lords debated the practical impact of the Human Rights Act. The debate was tabled by Baroness Whitaker, who referred to BIHR's work with public bodies to increase their ability and accountability to use the Human Rights Act in their decision-making every day.

We tweeted along - you can read our round-up with clips from the debate here. You can watch the debate in full here.

The majority of speakers expressed serious concerns about the Government's Rights Removal Bill. The House of Lords may have their chance to debate the Bill again in the coming months. How that might go was indicated by Lord Carlile of Berriew who said:

“If that Bill is ever debated in this house, the Government will face a serious fight.”

Our vlogs on our work to protect the Human Rights Act

At BIHR, we are vlogging about the work we are doing every week to protect our Human Rights Act. This week, our Human Rights Officer Annie shares the work she is doing to create an Easy Read guide to the Rights Removal Bill with support from Pembrokeshire People First, a self-advocacy charity run by and for people with a learning disability and/or autism.

The Easy Read guide is coming soon, so watch this space!

News from elsewhere

Justice secretary, Dominic Raab, pulled out of parliamentary scrutiny session due to take place next Wednesday

Raab was due to appear before Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights on Wednesday 20th July, to face questions from MPs and Peers about the "bill of rights" Bill. Last week, the JCHR published a letter setting out its  he has  This week, however, he has postponed his appearance, much to the extreme disappointment of the Committee who have written a letter to Raab asking him to reconsider.

Government has consistently avoided accountability as this damaging Bill has developed. First with the Independent Human Rights Act Review panel who said the Human Rights Act was working well, then with the public following a consultation which received over 12,000 responses, then with civil society and cross-party parliamentary committees whose calls for pre-legislative scrutiny were ignored, and now to the JCHR itself.

The LeDeR programme published its annual report for 2021

The LeDeR programme, standing for 'Learning from Lives and Deaths of People with a Learning Disability and autistic people', was set up in 2017 to improve healthcare for people with a learning disability and autistic people. This week, it published it's annual report (available in Easy Read) with important and concerning data on the current health disparities faced by people with a learning disability and autistic people in the UK. Key facts included:

  • 6 in 10 people with a learning disability died before the age of 65, compared with 1 in 10 of the general population.
  • Males with an learning disability die 22 years younger than males without a learning disability, and for females it is 26 years younger.
  • 49% of deaths were classified as "avoidable" for people with a learning disability. This compares to 22% for the general population.
  • Covid-19 was the leading cause of death for people with a learning disability in 2021.