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'What next for human rights?'

As a member of the Human Rights Consortium, Law in Action attended and participated in the ‘What next for human rights?’ conference on the 25th of June 2015 arranged by the Consortium and attended by civil society, legal practitioners and academics.

See the detailed Law in Action summary of the conference: click HERE


See the official conference programme: click HERE 

Law in Action are delighted to share a document composed by Brian Gormally, Director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice for his presentation ‘Fighting the Repeal of the Human Rights Act.’ For an interesting read, with the intention of promoting informed debate, to read the document in full: click HERE

 

Law in Action members worked alongside post-graduate student, Fraser Simpson, to create a teaching document that was launched on the day for civil society members to use in their work. In a separate capacity, Law in Action participated in a panel during a question and answer session.  Several individual workshops were also held on relevant issues and the outcomes of them reported back to the conference in plenary.

The conference aimed to get a broad cross section of people to answer the question posed in its title at time of uncertainty for human rights, given the recent announcement that the UK Government will abolish the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA).  The conference recognised that the HRA upheld values of fairness, respect and dignity and human rights were blighted by misinformation in public discourse. However, an honest and open debate about the future of human rights in the UK was required in order to avoid the dangers posed by regressive human rights protection. By the end of the conference, all parties agreed to work together to further inform the public and contribute to the honest and open debate required. 

There was widespread recognition of the current climate of uncertainty about how, if and when the HRA repeal would take place. Of note was the following statement from the current Scottish Human Rights Commissioner who participated in consultations with the UK Government  regarding the repeal:

‘One legal route being seriously considered by the UK Government is to repeal the HRA and replace it with a ‘British Bill of Rights’ only in relation to ‘reserved’ powers held by Westminster and allow the status quo of human rights protection to continue in relation to the ‘devolved’ powers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

Law in Action extend their thanks to Carole Ewart of the Consortium and Fraser Simpson.

Visit the CAJ website here: http://www.caj.org.uk

Cross Party Parliamentary Group

Law in Action were pleased to be invited to participate in the meeting of the Cross-Party Group on Human Rights at the Scottish Parliament on the 27th of May 2015. 

See Minutes Taken by Law in Action HERE: Cross Party Group Minute 

Our representative was able to speak about the work of Glasgow University Law in Action to the many organisations in attendance and those interested members of the public onlooking within the committee room. Additionally, Law in Action gained greater knowledge of current civil and political human rights issues facing members of civil society. In particular, trade union rights, the gender pay gap, employment rights of ethnic minorities and the lack of resources amongst civil society to properly enforce and monitor civil and political human rights. We were able to make some valuable contacts and intend to further expand our work in this area. A more detailed summary of the meeting will be published in the coming week.

While the experience with the Cross-Party Group was very valuable, Law in Action is resolute in stressing that this Group alone is inadequate to promote and protect human rights in Scotland. We maintain the Scottish Government should establish a Human Rights Committee within the Scottish Parliament. This would, at the very least, truly entrench a culture of human rights in Scotland, ensure compatibility of legislative acts with human rights and engage human rights groups and civil society with the work of Parliament more meaningfully and to a far greater extent than the present Cross-Party Group can.

 

Cross-Party Group on Human Rights: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/msps/41363.aspx