Race Matters

Do not abandon the Human Rights Act: Letter to PM

A letter asking Prime Minister Theresa May to abandon plans to scrap the Human Rights Act was published in the Times on Saturday 10 December.

There were more than 164 signatories, including the Runnymede Trust, from various industries and sectors, including those working with new mothers, children, patients, carers, people with learning disabilities and mental ill-health, women experiencing violence, migrants and older people, and groups campaigning for LGBT rights, fair trials, access to justice and decent housing.

The British Institute for Human Rights (BIHR) organised the open letter to be published on Human Rights Day (10 December) to show the breadth of support for the Human Rights Act across the UK. Amnesty International UK, Liberty and Human Rights Watch as well as trade unions and law firms signed the letter. 

Stephen Bowen, Director of BIHR, said: “I hope the Prime Minister will listen to so many respected organisations, all with first-hand knowledge of how the Human Rights Act helps so many people in their everyday lives and why it isn’t something to scrap but something to cherish. These are uncertain times and Theresa May should not be adding to the legal confusion, risking further division, or signalling that the UK wants to walk away from international standards. Instead, she can give us all something to cheer by saving the Human Rights Act.” 

The letter reads: 

Dear Prime Minister, 

Today, on Human Rights Day, we will celebrate the difference the Human Rights Act makes to all our lives. 

The Human Rights Act is something to cherish. It helps those delivering frontline services to make difficult ethical decisions and enables families to hold those in powerful positions to account. It is key to defending our free press and to protecting our democracy. It is the Bill of Rights we already have. 

This year, huge uncertainty and upheaval began that will continue for years to come. It is not the time to add to the legal confusion, to risk further division or signal that the UK wants to walk away from international standards. Now is the time to champion, at home and abroad, the protection of hard-won human rights. For everyone. 

The day you became Prime Minister you said your mission was to make Britain a country that works for everyone, including the disadvantaged. You said that when your government passes new laws you would listen to ordinary people and you would do everything you could to give them more control over their lives. 

The Human Rights Act makes a much-valued difference to all our lives and for many people that difference is dramatic. Please, Prime Minister, drop the Government’s commitment to “scrap” the Human Rights Act.
 

NB For further information, including a full list of signatories, please call Sanchita Hosali on 07811 457343 or email shosahi@bihr.org.uk
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