Introduction

Human rights protect everyone in Britain and affect every aspect of our lives.

Human rights are about:

  • our rights to be treated with dignity, respect and fairness by the government and our public authorities, such as hospitals, care homes, the police or prisons
  • the freedom to voice ideas openly and to protest if you disagree with government policy or actions
  • protecting individuals from arbitrary and excessive action by government or public officials that may result in loss of life, liberty, degrading treatment or intrusion into people‚Äôs personal lives.

We take many of these rights for granted, and often do not realise how successfully our legal and institutional systems work to protect and uphold these rights.

Our human rights role

The Commission has duties to promote awareness, understanding and protection of human rights; and to encourage public authorities to comply with the Human Rights Act. We are also required to review progress in society on equality and human rights, produce indicators to measure that progress and report on progress every three years. The Commission is also a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) accredited by the United Nations under the Paris Principles. These require it to monitor, advise and report to the government and parliament on the human rights situation in Britain, including any human rights violations. This review of human rights meets the Commission's statutory duties under the Equality Act 2006, and its requirements as an NHRI.

The review

In this landmark review we assess how well Britain is meeting its human rights obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights and our own Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) which gives effect to the Convention.

  • We set out the rights and freedoms protected in the Convention, and assess to what extent each is enjoyed by people living in Britain today.
  • We look at how our laws, institutions and institutional processes support and protect each right.
  • We highlight the many ways in which the protection of human rights in Britain has been strengthened in recent years by law, policy and practice.
  • We also, however, expose some key areas where we believe serious human rights problems could be better tackled and protections ensured.

Geraldine Van Bueren, Lead Commissioner said:

'Britain has a long and passionate commitment to human rights. Because of this commitment, most people in Britain can live their lives as they wish to, free from government control or interference. However, we cannot take our rights for granted.
'All of us benefit from human rights because these improve our daily lives. Human rights should not only get our attention when people we might not like try to use these rights. Nor should the value of human rights be limited to when we see what happens to people in other countries when these rights do not exist.'

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Last Updated: 30 Jun 2014