To mark global Human Rights Day Learning Disability Wales, along with over 150 groups from across the UK, has signed an open letter to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, challenging him to secure our Human Rights Act and safeguard human rights and democratic accountability here at home.
The organisations joining Learning Disability Wales in making this call include those working with children, carers, people with learning disabilities and mental ill-health, women experiencing violence, migrants, older people, and groups campaigning for LGBTQ+ rights, fair trials, access to justice, decent housing and against racial discrimination and to increase the UK’s democratic accountability here at home.
In our varied work up and down the country, we see the everyday ways our Human Rights Act helps people to live more dignified and equal lives; ordinary people whose voices are too often unheard by those with power.
The loud calls to tamper with our Human Rights Act, often by those in government with the responsibility to uphold our protections, does little to reassure civil society groups, and the many people we each support and represent. We note that this week Justice Secretary Dominic Raab restated his intention to consult on the future of our law imminently, despite not yet having published the report of the Independent Review of the Human Rights Act.
This atmosphere of hostility towards human rights and legal accountability in the UK cannot continue. Together, we are calling on the Prime Minister, and leaders of all political parties, to “move from the romanticisation of being human rights pioneers in 1948 and commit to our Human Rights Act protections being a part of everyone’s life, every day, today and tomorrow.”
Below is a video of the easy read letter being read:
Sanchita Hosali, Director of the British Institute of Human Rights, the organisation coordinating the letter, said:
“As the UK enthusiastically participates in President Biden’s Summit for Democracy, it is time for our Prime Minister to also turn the lens inwards. The hostile environment towards human rights and accountability cannot continue; if we are a nation that values democracy, we must also value the checks on power.”
“At BIHR whether we are working with doctors and nurses, children and parents, teachers or prison officers, women surviving abuse, people with learning disabilities and many others; what we see every single day is the real value and meaning of our Human Rights Act for people across the UK.”
“Rather than hyperbole and rhetoric bordering on dog whistle politicking, we need a government that is willing to stand up for Our Human Rights Act, our way to hold them to account. As we all work hard to mitigate the impact of the pandemic – a crisis in which our Human Rights Act has provided vital protections – we stand with over 150 other organisations calling for a world in which our political leaders move from the romanticisation of being human rights pioneers in 1948 and commit to our rights being a part of everyone’s life, every day, today and tomorrow. It is a challenge we urge Mr Johnson to take on.”