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March 3, 2022

Our response to the Government’s consultation on changes to the Human Rights Act

The Government is currently consulting on ‘reforming’ the Human Rights Act. The Human Rights Act came into force in 2000 and sets out the fundamental rights and freedoms that everyone in the UK is entitled to (like the right to freedom of expression, the right to a fair trial etc). It means that public bodies (like the police, local authorities, hospitals, schools etc) have to respect and protect your rights, and that any new laws the Government introduces have to be compatible with those rights. And if your rights are breached, you can take your case to court.

The Government now wants to replace this with what they are describing as a Bill of Rights. Their plans would make it harder to bring a human rights case to court and that, rather than human rights being universal (i.e. that they apply to everyone), an individual’s behaviour could be factored into decisions on whether someone’s rights are upheld. There are also specific proposals to stop people at risk of deportation appealing on the grounds that their human rights are being breached, and to limit the extent to which the Government has to take human rights into account when ‘tackling illegal migration’.

We’ve focused our response on five key questions, and you can read our submission here. Like many other organisations and individuals, we’re arguing strongly against the proposals and urging the Government to rethink these plans, which would deny migrants the same basic human rights enjoyed by others.

If you want to get involved, the British Institute of Human Rights have produced a lot of great resources to make it really easy to understand and respond to the consultation; check them out here. The deadline for responses is 8 March.