Weekly news 16 July 2021 

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

News from BIHR 

Our work with people accessing services:  

Workshops with Rock Trust and ALLFIE 

  • Free Human Rights Workshops: Last year, BIHR secured funding to offer free human rights sessions to people accessing, or trying to access, public services, and their loved ones and carers during the Covid-19 pandemic. The purpose of these sessions was to equip people with knowledge about human rights which they could then use in their interactions with public services and hopefully achieve positive change in their lives. In April, we invited small, community organisations to apply for our final 10 free human rights sessions. We received applications from lots of fantastic organisations and  selected 10 of them – you can find more information about these organisations hereThis week we delivered two of these free workshops. The first with Rock Trust, Scotland’s youth-specific homelessness charity. The second with ALLFIE a disabled people led organisation which works for inclusive education.   



Our work with community and advocacy groups: 

Applications to co-design a human rights solution NOW CLOSED! 

  • Co-developing a human rights solutionon 1 July, BIHR ran an open access workshop with a host of community and voluntary groups across the UK. The workshop was a space for groups to share their experiences using human rights in their work and discuss their ideas about what human rights support they need. BIHR will be selecting 4 groups to work with longer term to co-develop a human rights “solution”, but if there is a lot of demand, we can use what people tell us to apply for more funding and hopefully work with more organisations in future. The deadline for applications was 15 July, BIHR are now working to select partners from those who applied. There’s more information about this project on our website. Please email Eilidh Turnbull on [email protected] with any questions 


Our work with public services: 

New CAMHS human rights project with NHS England  

  • This week we launched a new CAMHS human rights programme funded by NHS England. This project focuses on building staff knowledge and capacity to positively and proactively uphold human rights when supporting children and young people with mental health issues. This is alongside support for young people, their families, carers, supporters and advocates to raise their concerns with services not simply as a matter of what is right, but what is legal, to self-advocate and find practical solutions. We know from our work with staff, young people, families, supporters and advocates that meaningful change can be achieved, shifting power, by putting human rights at the heart of these everyday discussions and decisions in mental health services.Find out more here. 
  • This week we also continued with our longer terms human rights learning programmes with Health and Social Care Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts. Delivering workshops for mixed staff working in inpatient mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk and for mental health and learning disability multi-disciplinary teams in Sheffield.  

Our policy work: 

  • Independent Human Rights Act Review: On 23rd June, BIHR facilitated a roundtable discussion jointly with Liberty which was attended by members of the IHRAR Panel. The Panel listened to ten people with lived experience of using the Human Rights Act in their lives, including parent-carers, self-advocates and staff working in health and social care. Minutes from the roundtable will be available on the IHRAR website soon, and the Panel has asked for written testimonies from each of the people who shared their stories at the roundtable, some of which we’re hopeful will be included in the Panel’s report to Government about the future of the Human Rights Act.  
  • Government consultations research: BIHR is carrying out some research about government consultations because we have concerns about how they are being run at the moment. We’re not convinced a human rights-based approach which ensures participation, accountability, non-discrimination, empowerment and legality is being taken. Our research will compare government consultation approaches across the four nations. You can find a Twitter thread with some of our initial findings here, but our research is ongoing and later this year we will want to hear from others about their experiences of government consultations. If anyone is interested in being involved in this research, they can register their interest here.
  • House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee published their report on the treatment of autistic people and people with learning disabilities on Monday 13 July. The report is clear that this is a human rights crisis that needs addressed urgently. There is not currently an Easy Read version of the report. BIHR have created an Easy Read summary of the key contents and recommendations which you can read here. 

Work with us!  

We are hiring 2 new roles called Lived Experience Experts to work with BIHR.   

The role is to be a consultant to work with BIHR on our new project to look after human rights in mental health inpatient services for children and young people. 

Find out more and apply here.


News from elsewhere... 

Supreme Court Hears Case on sex and capcity

On Thursday 15 July, the Supreme Court heard the case of JB concerning whether an understanding of the need for the other person's consent is a necessary component of "capacity to engage in sexThe Open Justice Court of Protection Project has produced a briefing on what has happened with this case so far – you can find it here. This is an important case which have wide implications for people with disabilities, so we will be eagerly awaiting the Supreme Court judgement. BIHR wrote a blog which covers the issue of sexual relationscapacity and human rights in relation to the JB case, you can read it here.

UK Gov shouldn’t change Human Rights Act without Senedd ‘consent’, say MPs

The UK Government should not change the Human Rights Act without the “consent” of the Senedd, according to a cross-party committee of MPs. A report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights said amending the Act could risk the UK’s constitutional settlement as well as the enforcement of human rights.

The Government’s Independent Review of the Human Rights Act said its positive impact should be “welcomed and protected”. The report concluded that the UK Government should not pursue reform of the Act without the consent of the devolved parliaments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.


Government breaching human rights commitments under UN racism treaty, report warns

The government is in breach of a UN treaty designed to eradicate racial discrimination, a new report has warned. Research by the Runnymede Trust said that minority ethnic groups face sustained disparities across health, the criminal justice system, education, employment and immigration in England. The authors write that they believe the government’s new approach to equalities will fail to improve these outcomes “and may in fact worsen them”.

The report from the race equality think-tank added that the government is in breach of numerous articles of the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

Home Office ‘acting unlawfully’ in rush to deport asylum seekers

Hundreds of people arriving in England in small boats are being immediately detained in immigration removal centres, raising fears of a new, secret Home Office policy to deport them without their asylum claims being properly considered.

Among the detainees are apparent trafficking and torture victims from countries including Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, who would normally be allowed asylum accommodation in the community while their claims are processed but instead are effectively imprisoned.

The Guardian

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