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150+ Chief Executives publish an open letter to political leaders to stand with them in support of the Human Rights Act.

150+ Chief Executives publish an open letter to political leaders to stand with them in support of the Human Rights Act.

Today, on Human Rights Day, Chief Executives of over 150 organisations across the United Kingdom have signed an open letter from the British Institute of Human Rights, published in The Times, making clear that, together, we “stand with the Human Rights Act recognising it is the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights made law here at home” and urging our political leaders “to stand with us”.

The organisations, which represent people from across the UK including carers, older people, disabled people and children, as well as professional bodies like the Royal College of Midwives and the four Children’s Commissioners, highlight concern that “[t]oday the future of human rights in the UK is uncertain” and stress the importance of the Human Rights Act as making “the universal human rights we share with people across the world part of our law here at home”.

The full letter reads:

“Dear political leaders,

Today is Human Rights Day. Across the globe, people are celebrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This international Magna Carta for all humanity has inspired so much, including our own Human Rights Act.

Today we celebrate the often overlooked everyday differences our Human Rights Act makes for people across the UK. Our examples are many, whether this is supporting children to access education, stopping inhuman treatment of older people, providing refugees with safety, preventing discrimination, or offering justice for victims and families failed by the system, and many more.

Today we celebrate how our Human Rights Act strengthens our democracy, giving everyone a voice, and ensuring the powerful do not go unchecked.

Today we celebrate how our Human Rights Act does more than defend our traditional liberties. It makes the universal human rights we share with people across the world part of our law here at home.

Today the future of human rights in the UK is uncertain. Today we stand with the Human Rights Act recognising it is the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights made law here at home. We urge our political leaders to stand with us.”

Stephen Bowen, Director of the British Institute of Human Rights, said:

“As Human Rights Day is celebrated across the globe and around the country, this is an opportunity for us to reflect on the progress made at home on human rights, this year being the 15th anniversary of our own Human Rights Act. I am delighted that scores of organisations across the UK have joined with us to speak up for the importance of our Human Rights Act. At a time when our human rights at home risk being unravelled by the government policy to ‘scrap’ the law and replace it with a ‘British Bill of Rights’, today’s letter from civil society to our political leaders is a timely reminder that our Human Rights Act is based on the universal human rights that protect us all, and which are being celebrated around the world today.”



1. To arrange comment from BIHR, please contact Helen Wildbore, Senior Human Rights Officer on 0207 882 5851 or Out of hours, contact Sanchita Hosali, Deputy Director on 07598 441150. A copy of the letter as it appears in The Times is available here:

2. 10 December is International Human Rights Day, celebrated across the globe every year to mark the day in 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed. The UDHR inspired future human rights laws, including the rights in our own Human Rights Act. Each year the British Institute of Human Rights joins with others to celebrate Human Rights Day. We do this through national actions, such as coordinating our annual Human Rights Day letter signed by civil society organisations, this year signed by over 150 Chief Executives and published as a full page in The Times newspaper on 10 December. We also do this by supporting people to organise local actions in their communities. The signatories are listed below

3. This year Human Rights Day takes on special significance here at home as this year is the 15th anniversary of the UK’s Human Rights Act being in force which we recently celebrated with 15 Days of Action. Following on from this success, BIHR will be marking Human Rights Day by also celebrating 15 years of universal human rights protections here at home.

4. The British Institute of Human Rights, founded 45 years ago, is an independent charity working to bring human rights to life here at home. We empower people to:

• know what human rights are (and often what they are not);
• use them in practice achieve positive change in everyday life without resorting to the courts; and
• protect make sure those in power respect and progress our human rights laws and systems.

At the heart of everything we do is a commitment to making sure the international promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, developed after the horrors of World War II, is made real here at home. Our innovative work seeks to achieve a society where human rights are respected as the cornerstone of our democracy and enable each of us to live well in communities that value the equal dignity of each person. Our education, research and advocacy work supports people and organisations to realise the potential of human rights to empower people and to transform organisations. By doing so, we inspire a new generation of organisations and individuals to recognise that human rights are the standards by which we should live, and to live up to their human rights responsibilities.

List of signatories

British Institute of Human Rights;

Act for the Act Campaign
Action on Elder Abuse
Action on Hearing Loss
Advice UK
Advocacy Focus
Age Connects Cardiff and the Vale
Age Connects Morgannwg
Age Connects Neath Port Talbot
Age Connects North East Wales
Age Scotland
AIRE Centre
All Wales People First
Alternative Futures Group
Amnesty International UK
Ashinana Network
Asylum Aid
Asylum Link
ATD Fourth World
AVA (Against Violence and Abuse)
BHA for Equality
British Humanist Association
British Institute of Learning Disabilities
Campaign for Freedom of Information
Carers UK
Caritas Social Action Network
Child Poverty Action Group
Children and Young People’s Commissioner, Scotland
Children are unbeatable! Alliance
Children's Commissioner for England
Children's Commissioner for Wales
Children's Rights Alliance for England
Clynfyw Care Farm
Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights
Discrimination Law Association
Diverse Cymru
Doctors of the World
Down's syndrome Association
End Violence against Women
English PEN
Equal Rights Trust
Equality and Diversity Forum
Equality Now
Fair Trials
Faiths Forum for London
Family Rights Group
Fawcett Society
Freedom from Torture
Friends, Families and Travellers
Garden Court Chambers
Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES)
Global Witness
Grandparents Plus
Greenwich Migrant Hub
Hackney Migrant Centre
Helen Bamber Foundation
Housing Justice
Howard League for Penal Reform
Human Rights Consortium
Human Rights Consortium
Human Rights Watch
Hywel Dda University Health Board
IARS International Institute
Imran Khan and Partners
Inspire Women
Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
Just for kids Law
JUST West Yorkshire
Law Centres Network
Legal Action Group
Legal Aid Practitioners Group (LAPG)
LGBT Consortium
LGBT Foundation
London Voluntary Service Council
Manor Gardens Welfare Trust
Medical Justice
Mental Health Foundation
Migrant and Refugee Community Forum
Migrant Rights Network
National Care Forum
National Development Team for Inclusion
National Survivor User Network
National Union of Students
National Voices
North West Community Network
Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council
Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People
Older People's Commission for Wales
Patients Association
Pembrokeshire People First
Prison Reform Trust
Race on the Agenda
Refugee Council
Rene Cassin
Rights of Women
Rights Watch UK
Royal College of Midwives
Royal College of Nursing
Runnymede Trust
S&S Immigration Law
Safer Wales Ltd
Scottish Legal Action Group
Songololo Feet
Southall Black Sisters
Southern Advocacy Services
Stroke Association
Sue Ryder
Suicide Crisis
Survivors Speak OUT
Tameside Human Rights Watch and UK Immigration Services
The Centre of European Law and Internationalisation (CELI)
The Children's Society
The Judith Trust
The Life Story Network
Together - Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights
Trade Union Congress
Transform Justice
Traveller Movement
True Voice
UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group
UK Race and Europe Network
United Nations Association - UK
University of Roehampton and Crucible Centre for Human Rights
Unlock Democracy
Voluntary Action Islington
Welsh Women’s Aid
WNDiS (West Norfolk Disability Information Service)
Women's Aid
Women's Aid Federation Northern Ireland
Women's Resource Centre
Young Legal Aid Lawyers

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of The British Institute of Human Rights in the following categories: Public Sector, Third Sector & Legal, for more information visit