Our human rights strategy

Our strategy and programme of action 2009-2012

This strategy sets out how we plan to use our powers to carry out our human rights duties over the next three years. It also sets out how we will respond to the recommendations of our Human Rights Inquiry.

In response to the consultation, research and formal hearings of the Inquiry, our Human rights strategy sets out our vision of human rights and the role that we can play in protecting and defending these rights, and in supporting public, private and third sector organisations to do the same. The strategy aims to create a climate of respect for human rights – through promoting understanding, demonstrating the value of human rights law in people’s everyday lives.

As the Inquiry found, this work will not be without challenge. We face the task of defining our human rights vision at the same time as defending the existence of human rights in Britain. We will work with domestic and international originations to encourage the implementation of a human rights based approach, while tackling myths and misconceptions about human rights.

However our strategy is also rich in opportunities. The Inquiry showed us how human rights can enable individuals to challenge bureaucracies; how they can empower people to participate more fully and effectively in decisions that affect their lives; and how they can help public officials to design policies that are more respectful of the most vulnerable people in their care. And, most of all, it is encouraging to discover overwhelming support for human rights in Britain. Over 80 per cent of the public recognise the importance of human rights in creating a fair and equal society with decent public services.

Our vision

The Commission’s vision for human rights is of a Britain in which:

  • there is a dignified life for everyone
  • people’s freedom and opportunities to achieve their life goals are progressively expanded and are unhindered by prejudice, discrimination or arbitrary restraint
  • human rights are recognised as values we share with one another, not simply rights we claim for ourselves, helping to build a more cohesive, civilised and fair society.

Strategic priorities

 The Commission’s five priorities for human rights are:

  • No regression in law from the levels of human rights protection and mechanisms for enforcement under the Human Rights Act and other ratified human rights treaties.
  • Widespread awareness and accurate understanding of human rights at all levels of society, including how they can be used by individuals and applied by public, private and voluntary organisations.
  • Human rights mainstreamed into the work of at least five of the most significant regulators, inspectorates and complaints handling bodies.
  • To have developed a credible and widely utilised measurement framework for human rights widely and to have reported against this framework in our Triennial Review.
  • To have clearly influenced the concluding observations of the Treaty Monitoring Bodies for the UN Conventions on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities concerning Britain’s performance on respecting, protecting and promoting human rights.

Download our strategy:

Commission's response to the Joint Committee on Human Rights

In July 2010 the Equality and Human Rights Commission responded to the 13th report of the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) which concerned the operation of the Commission.

Download the Commission's reponse (Pdf)
The JCHR's comments and recommendations also concerned matters for the Government to respond to.  You can read the Government's response on the Home Office website(Pdf).  

In this section…