21 January 2022

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

News from BIHR

NDTi discussed our joint work on social care reforms on their Talking Inclusion podcast

Our partners NDTi spoke about getting people’s voices into policy on their podcast, Talking Inclusion. Ageing and Older People Development Lead, Paul Gutherson, discussed the work they’re doing with us to help the Equality & Human Rights Committee shape their response to proposed social care reforms.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Text reading: NDTi Podcast series: talking inclusion. Episode 11: people

There’s still time to join the BIHR team!

We’re looking for an administrative whizz with a passion for human rights to join our busy team as Operations Assistant. You’ll be helping us work to our strategic objectives through general, financial and event & training administrative support. The deadline for receiving applications is 9am on Monday 7th February.

Click here to read more about the role and apply.

Red background and picture of megaphone with text reading: join our team.

Save your space at our free Human Rights Act Reform events!

As part of our 5-part action plan in response to the Government’s proposal to reform the Human Rights Act, we want to bring together people from across these groups interested in working together to protect our rights. We also want to provide a platform for you to share your concerns and ensure that your voice is heard. We’re hosting a series of free, online events.

1) Wednesday 26th January, 5.30pm to 7pm: Ask the Experts Session

Speakers will include:

Professor Francesca Klug OBE, Visiting Professor at LSE Human Rights
Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty
Charli Clement, Lived Experience Expert Consultant for BIHR
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Director of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association
Mhairi Snowden, Director of Human Rights Consortium Scotland
Brian Gormally, Director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice
Sanchita Hosali, CEO of BIHR

2) Monday 31st January, 4pm to 5.30pm: Human Rights Act Reform Workshop

3) Tuesday 8th February, 4pm to 5.30pm: Easy Read Human Rights Act Reform Workshop

Click here to read more about the events and reserve your spot.

Picture of calendar and text reading: Human Rights Act Reform Events.

News from elsewhere

House of Lords voted against anti-protest laws

On Tuesday 17th January, the House of Lords voted on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. They voted against a number of measures, including creating a new offence of “locking on”, allowing the police to stop and search anyone at a protest “without suspicion” and creating a new offence of interfering with national infrastructure. These plans were added to the bill at a late stage by the government. Because of this, they can only be brought back by the government in a new bill.

They also voted to make misogyny a hate crime, decriminalise homelessness and begging and scrap the power to restrict protests that are judged to be too noisy. These amendments will now go back to the House of Commons.

Among those who opposed the amendments were five disabled peers, including BIHR trustee Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson. Baroness Grey-Thompson said that “for many disabled people, [protest] is sometimes the only way our voice is heard.”

Source: BBC News

MPs approved compulsory photo ID checks for voters

On Sunday 16th January, MPs voted in favour of the Elections Bill on its third reading. It will now be voted on by the House of Lords. The Elections Bill would change the law to require everyone to show photo ID before they’re allowed to vote in parliamentary elections as well as local elections in England. The Government says this is to help stop voter fraud but has admitted there were only 6 cases of voter fraud at the last election. Human rights groups such as Liberty have raised concerns that the plans will interfere with the public’s right to vote – especially marginalised groups who are less likely to have ID.    

Source: iNews

The Home Office’s policy of detaining young people for age assessments was found unlawful

Hundreds of unaccompanied young people seeking asylum have been detained by the Government on arrival in the UK. If the Home Office did not believe they were under 18, they had to undergo an “age assessment” carried out by the Home Office’s Social Workers. These assessments typically take under an hour and there is not an “appropriate adult” present to support the person being assessed. This has caused concern that vulnerable children were being forced to share rooms with adults because they’ve been incorrectly deemed to be adults. The High Court found both the age assessments policy and the subsequent time spent in detention “inherently unlawful in the sense that it lacks essential safeguards”.

Source: The Independent

Reclaim These Streets took the Met Police to court over their right to free speech and assembly

On Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th January, the Divisional Court heard a judicial review of the Met Police’s refusal to allow a vigil following the murder of Sarah Everard by one of its officers. The claim was brought by Reclaim These Streets, a group campaigning against violence against women and girls. Reclaim These Streets argue that the refusal breached their Article 10 right to freedom of expression and Article 11 right to freedom of assembly of association under the Human Rights Act.

Source: EachOther