UK Human Rights Act is at risk of repeal – here’s why it should be protected : The Conversation


There have long been attempts to “scrap” the Human Rights Act 1998, which incorporates the European  Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into UK law. But while none have gained traction to date, parliamentarians have recently raised concerns that the government could be wavering in its commitment to the act post-Brexit.

The House of Lords’ EU justice sub-committee said in January that it was worried to see the government change the wording of the political declaration it agreed with the EU, which sketches out a non-binding vision for what the UK’s relationship with Europe will look like after Brexit.

In its draft form, the declaration said that the future relationship should incorporate the UK’s “commitment” to the convention. However, by the time the final version was published in November 2018, that had changed to a commitment to “respect the framework” of the convention.

The committee wrote to the government for clarification and received a response from Edward Argar, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for justice, who stated that the government would not repeal or replace the act while Brexit is ongoing but that “it is right that we wait until the process of leaving the EU concludes before considering the matter further”.

Responding publicly, committee chairman Helena Kennedy said that this was a “troubling” reply, noting: “Again and again we are told that the government is committed … but without a concrete commitment”.

 

Source: UK Human Rights Act is at risk of repeal – here’s why it should be protected : The Conversation

Theresa May considering scrapping Human Rights Act following Brexit


The rights of individuals need to be maintained to ensure the power base is not used to alter the standing of certain individuals within the UK.

All individuals within the UK should be and need to be treated equally, as does the Rule of Law and Order.

Politics and Insights

humanrightsThe prime minister is to consider repealing the Human Rights Act after Brexit, despite promising she is “committed” to its protections, a minister has revealed. This is, after all, a government that has always tended to regard the human rights of some social groups as nothing more than a bureaucratic inconvenience.

The House of Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee has exchanged correspondence with the Government about clarifying the wording of the Political Declaration regarding the European Convention on Human Rights. 

There is no justification for editing or repealing the Human Rights Act itself, that would make Britain the first European country to regress in the level and degree of our human rights protection. It is through times of recession and times of affluence alike that our rights ought to be the foundation of our society, upon which the Magna Carta, the Equality Act and the Human Rights Act were built – protecting the most…

View original post 1,267 more words

Thousands of foreign criminals roam freely on our streets – and we can’t deport them : Express. – DWPExamination.


THOUSANDS of foreign criminals are roaming freely on our streets because human rights laws forbid judges from deporting them. More than 5,000 foreign offenders awaiting deportation were living in B…

Source: Thousands of foreign criminals roam freely on our streets – and we can’t deport them : Express. – DWPExamination.

Rationing of access to adult safeguarding casts shadow over Care Act aspirations | Community Care


There has been slow progress on safeguarding under the Care Act but rationing and implementation problems are causes for concern, says Gary FitzGerald

Source: Rationing of access to adult safeguarding casts shadow over Care Act aspirations | Community Care

Labour conference: Tory bill of rights ‘would water down Human Rights Act’


Original post from Disabled Go News

‘……………

Labour-rose_logo

The under-threat Human Rights Act could be used to halt the scandal of disabled people who have died after being put through the government’s much-criticised “fitness for work” test regime, according to Labour’s new shadow minister for disabled people.

Debbie Abrahams spoke out on the importance of the act as she pledged to fight Conservative attempts to scrap the legislation and replace it with a new bill of rights.

She told activists attending a Disability Labour fringe meeting that the act, introduced by a Labour government in 1998, was “definitely something we got right”.

She said: “It has managed to hold the state to account, supported peaceful protests, helped rape victims, guarded against slavery, protected people in care and much more.

“We should be proud of that impact and that it was a Labour government that brought that in.”

She suggested that article two of the Human Rights Act – the right to life – could be used to fight the “ineffective and dehumanising” work capability assessment (WCA).

Abrahams said the apparent increased death rates caused by the WCA system in the last five years were “one of the biggest scandals that we have seen”, and that a case taken under article two could be used to stop further loss of life.

Two weeks ago, Disability News Service revealed how a coroner had demanded that the government take action after concluding that a disabled man from north London killed himself as a direct result of being found “fit for work”.

Labour’s new shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, mentioned the case in his main conference speech, and told delegates that a Labour government would “end this brutal treatment of disabled people”.

Victoria Desmond, co-founder of the Labour Campaign for Mental Health, told the fringe meeting that she was concerned that if the Human Rights Act was scrapped, the civil liberties of people with mental health conditions who are sectioned could be even more at risk, because of the “very frightening” Mental Health Act and Mental Capacity Act.

Reema Patel, treasurer of Disability Labour, pointed to the act’s “ability to empower people, to show that this is an issue, this is an infringement”.

She added: “I can hold you as a policy-maker and decision-maker to account. It is such an important tool if understood in this way.”

Emily Brothers, an executive member of Disability Labour, who chaired the fringe meeting, said the group would work with those Labour shadow ministers addressing the bill of rights issue.

She said: “We will not be deflected by the Tory agenda of undermining the framework of human rights and safeguarding people’s liberty and civil rights.”

Kate Egerton, a discrimination and human rights solicitor with lawyers Leigh Day, told the meeting that a strategy paper published by the Conservatives last year showed that a new bill of rights would provide a “watered down version” of the rights currently offered by the Human Rights Act.

Richard Howitt, Labour MEP and co-president of the European parliament’s all-party disability rights group, said the Conservatives wanted to “make it much harder to enforce any rights”.

And he praised “the utterly fantastic” work of Disabled People Against Cuts, which has persuaded the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities to investigate “grave and systematic violations” of the UN disability convention in the UK, over issues such as the closure of the Independent Living Fund and deaths caused by the WCA.

He said this was an example of the importance of “fighting for something in international law”.

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Aden

Hi I’m Aden, I work at DisabledGo as the Digital Marketing Manager and I manage the blog and all social media channels.

More posts from author    ……………………….’

Disabled voters take pioneering legal action over election access


Original post from Disabled Go News

‘…………….

court

A disabled campaigner is one of five blind and visually-impaired people taking pioneering legal action against their local councils over the failure to make voting in elections accessible to them.

Graham Kirwan, who is visually-impaired, has been trying to persuade Dudley council for nine years to make the adjustments that would allow him to vote independently, and privately.

Now he is one of five sight-impaired people who have enlisted legal firm Leigh Day to take up their cases, following complaints they made through the disability charity RNIB about problems they encountered in the run-up to the general election on 7 May.

The five were either unable to vote in the election or had their right to a secret vote compromised.

Kirwan and the other claimants say their councils unlawfully discriminated against them under the Equality Act, and also breached the Human Rights Act, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), and the Representation of the People Act.

Article 29 of the UNCRPD, on participation in political and public life, protects the right of disabled people to “vote by secret ballot in elections”, and aims to guarantee that “voting procedures, facilities and materials are appropriate, accessible and easy to understand and use”.

The Representation of the People Act requires polling stations to provide a large print version of the ballot paper for reference and a tactile voting device to enable electors with visual impairments to vote independently.

But Kirwan and others say the system does not work in practice because the large print text is often not big enough, and the tactile voting device is not fit for purpose.

Kirwan said Dudley council refused to send him his voting information via email, rather than in the post, and failed to provide CCTV magnification equipment at his polling station that would have allowed him to read information about the candidates, because the large print information available was not large enough for him to read.

Even if that had been available, he believes he would still have been forced to ask someone else to help him cast his vote because the tactile voting device does not always work correctly.

Council threats that he could be fined £5,000 if he failed to fill in its inaccessible forms had already helped cause severe depression and anxiety, for which he is still being treated.

Dealing with the council, he says, changed him from “a confident blind person to one who went into rages, always angry [and] became anxious, could not sleep and found it difficult to communicate with others”.

Kirwan, who represents Dudley Centre for Inclusive Living on accessible information issues, is now 55 years old, and has never been able to vote, because of his impairment.

He told Disability News Service (DNS): “When you vote, it is private. I am denied that right. If I go and try and take somebody with me, somebody else could vote differently on my behalf and I wouldn’t know.

“I have rights to independence, choice and control over my life. That is all I want.”

Kirwan added: “It is just like I am excluded. It caused me stress. I don’t have a say in the decision-making that everybody else takes for granted.”

He says he will not try to vote again unless he can do so electronically.

Although there has been legal action around physical barriers to voting, this is believed to be the first involving the inaccessibility of the voting process to blind and partially-sighted people.

Kate Egerton, a discrimination solicitor in Leigh Day’s human rights department, said: “Some of the five had problems registering to vote, some had problems with the postal vote, and some had problems in their polling stations on the day.

“From start-to-finish, the whole system is inaccessible.”

She said they would be asking the courts to force the local authorities involved to make the voting process accessible to blind and visually-impaired people, in time for next year’s local elections.

Phillip Tart, Dudley council’s strategic director for resources and transformation, said: “Ballot papers are printed in the format as specified by the legislation relevant to each individual election.

“All polling stations are provided with magnifiers and selector templates to aid partially-sighted people to vote independently, [and] electors with disabilities can also be assisted by a companion or the presiding officer.

“Whilst we would be happy to talk with Mr Kirwan to understand his particular issues, for reasons of data protection we are unable to comment further, and we are not aware of any legal proceedings against the council at this time.”

Earlier this month, another legal action taken by Kirwan over the right to accessible information led to NHS England publishing its first accessible information standard (AIS).

The agreement to publish the AIS came after Kirwan took the NHS to court over its failure to provide his health-related information in a format that was accessible to him, via email rather than by post.

DNS first reported on Kirwan’s complaint two years ago, after NHS England agreed to set up an advisory panel to draw up the new “information standard”, as a result of his legal case.

He said the result was “brilliant” and would make a “massive, massive, massive” difference to tens of thousands of disabled people with sensory and learning impairments.

It will mean that all organisations providing NHS or adult social care will have to produce information in a service-user’s preferred format by 31 July 2016, and provide them with communication support if they need it.

Kirwan said: “Many will receive accessible health information for the first time, and most importantly in private. It will save NHS a lot of money in missed appointments.”

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Aden

Hi I’m Aden, I work at DisabledGo as the Digital Marketing Manager and I manage the blog and all social media channels.

More posts from author    ……..’

ELECTION 2015: Disabled people ‘should come together in new national body’


Original post from Disabled Go News

‘…………….

unionjack_disabled2

Leading activists appalled by the prospect of another five years of attacks on disability rights and equality – following the election of a majority Conservative government – are working on plans to set up a new national organisation of disabled people.

They want to bring disabled people’s organisations and disabled activists together under a non-party political umbrella, funded by membership fees and with elections to a steering group or executive.

The idea came from conversations between disabled bloggers and campaigners on social media, in the wake of last week’s general election results.

One of the disabled activists involved in the discussions, Gail Ward, said that such an organisation would provide “a platform for all to feed in and act as a collective, giving us more bargaining power and a voice that every individual disabled person can get behind”.

Another, Debbie Sayers, said in a blog that disabled people “as a community need to use our assets collectively, we need to come together to pool our resources”.

She added: “We need to work together in spite of our differences, because quite frankly our differences are far outweighed by our similarities and common foe.”

Among the Conservative manifesto commitments that could cause a regression in the rights of disabled people over the next five years include plans to scrap the Human Rights Act – with the potential loss of key protections under a replacement bill of rights – the party’s failure to pledge to fill the social care funding gap, and its commitment to further funding cuts, including slashing social security by another £12 billion a year.

Another leading figure involved in the discussions is disabled activist Sam Barnett-Cormack, who wrote in a blog: “Given the results of this general election, it’s more clear than ever that we need to make use of every tool outside of Parliament to stand up for ourselves.”

He said that a new national, membership-based organisation, with a proper constitution, would be “a strong way to ensure the voice of disabled people in politics, in civil society, and in the media”, and would provide a “credible, mature and accountable voice for disabled people on the national stage”.

He believes that such a body could work alongside existing disabled people’s organisations, and anti-cuts grassroots groups such as Disabled People Against Cuts and Black Triangle.

It would carry out “constructive policy work and campaigning in all areas, not just political”, including work “to protect the social security that so many disabled people rely on”, but also in areas such as inaccessible town centres, healthcare inequality and disability sport, and would have “the data and policy work to back it up”.

Barnett-Cormack told Disability News Service that there had been an “enthusiastic response on social media and in blog comments” to the idea, although he accepted that not everyone was in favour of setting up a new organisation.

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

  Aden

Hi I’m Aden, I work at DisabledGo as the Digital Marketing Manager and I manage the blog and all social media channels.

More posts from author  ………’

 

ELECTION 2015: Two disabled activists barred from job-sharing MP bids


Original post from Disableded Go News

‘………….

disabled_MP_jobsharing

Disabled activists have been barred from standing as job-share candidates in at least two constituencies in next month’s general election.

At least three serious attempts – two involving disabled people – have been made to persuade officials that two or more people should be allowed to stand together for election to represent a single parliamentary constituency.

But all three attempts have been rebuffed, two by the acting returning officers and one by the Electoral Commission.

Disabled activists believe that allowing job-sharing MPs would lead to an increase in the number of disabled people and women represented in parliament.

Both the Greens and the Liberal Democrats have endorsed the idea of allowing MPs to job-share, and the Lib Dems have included it in their election manifesto.

The Greens say it is still party policy to introduce job-sharing and that it is covered by its manifesto pledge to “work vigorously” towards ensuring all levels of government and public bodies are “representative of the diversity of the populations for whom they work”.

Legal advice from a leading human rights barrister, commissioned by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has suggested that the Electoral Commission could be breaching both the Equality Act and the Human Rights Act by refusing to provide guidance permitting job-share MPs.

In the Hackney North and Stoke Newington constituency in north London, disabled activist Adam Lotun had hoped to stand with student Zion Zakari as a job-sharing independent candidate.

They approached the Electoral Commission, but Adrian Green, the commission’s regional manager, told Lotun in an email: “Our view is that the law does not allow two or more candidates to stand jointly for election as an MP.”

Green said that the Parliamentary Constituencies Act and the Representation of the People Act were both “written in such a way as to anticipate single candidates for elections to parliamentary constituencies”.

And he suggested that Lotun raise the issue with the Cabinet Office if he believed the law should change.

Despite the advice, Lotun and Zakari approached the Hackney North and Stoke Newington acting returning officer, but were told that they could not be nominated together.

Now they are taking legal advice and considering court action against the Electoral Commission.

Lotun said: “I was disappointed. It just shows that the system is flawed.

“The rules and regulations, if you apply common sense, would suggest there is no reason why people cannot stand on a job share basis at all.”

He said there was no need for new legislation, just fresh guidance from the Electoral Commission, taking account of what the Equality Act says on discrimination against disabled people and other equality groups.

Lotun said he wanted to job-share the role because he could not commit the necessary time, as a disabled father of a young family, to be a full-time MP.

He said there was significant support for job-sharing MPs within the Labour party, as well as the public positions already taken by the Greens and Liberal Democrats.

In Basingstoke, the disabled Green party activist Clare Phipps was hoping to stand with fellow party member Sarah Cope, but they were told their nomination was invalid.

The constituency’s acting returning officer, Karen Brimacombe, said: “One nomination paper containing two names was rejected as it wasn’t valid under the Representation of the People Act rules.

“As acting returning officer, I have no discretion over the application of these rules.”

But Phipps and Cope insist that there are no laws or rules preventing joint candidature.

Neither Phipps nor Cope would be able to serve as a full-time MP. Cope is the main carer for two young children, and Phipps has an impairment that prevents her working full-time.

Phipps, who job-shares a position on the Green party executive, said: “It’s time our government reflected the people it is representing. Allowing job-share MPs is just one way we can change politics for the better.”

Allowing job-share MPs has been Green party policy since 2012.

Phipps and Cope are also now seeking legal advice.

In a third case, Rachel Ling and Emma Rome were prevented by the acting returning officer in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, from standing as job-sharing independent candidates.

Deborah King, co-founder of Disability Politics UK, said: “These cases show that the issue of job-sharing for MPs will not just go away.

“Over 45 individuals and organisations supported our campaign letter in the Guardian in 2012.

“Since then, more people have supported the campaign and [Labour MP] John McDonnell has introduced a private members’ bill to get job-sharing for MPs introduced.

“We would urge all political parties in the general election to support job-sharing for MPs as a way of getting more disabled people and more carers into politics.

“The House of Commons is not representative of the electorate. That is why it sometimes makes really bad decisions.

“We need a Commons fit for the 21st century and enabling part-time MPs is one way of achieving that goal.”

An Electoral Commission spokeswoman said: “Our view is that electoral law does not allow the nomination of two or more candidates for one constituency seat at a UK parliamentary election.”

She said that section 1(1) of the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 refers to each constituency “returning a single member”.

She added: “Any changes in this area would require amendments to primary legislation. This would be a matter for government and, ultimately, parliament.

“We would suggest that any individual who wished to pursue further questions on policy or legislation in this area contact the Cabinet Office, which is the UK government department responsible for UK electoral law.”

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Aden

Hi I’m Aden, I work at DisabledGo as the Digital Marketing Manager and I manage the blog and all social media channels.

More posts from author   …………….’

India RAPE, could it happen in the UK?


Culture; India Rape

In response to the article ‘Culture; India Rape’ I have just made the following post:

‘In a so called civilised country, you would not believe acts of this nature could happen and with apparent frequency.  But this is what happens when for one reason or another, a certain person, whether by race, gender or religion are not respected.  It should be a stated Human Right, that all humans should expect to receive respect from their fellow beings. If this finds not to be so, then the forces of Law and Order should ensure anyone not showing this respect, be punished accordingly.  When the forces of Law and Order can not be expected to show this respect, then anarchy is the outcome.

One hopes that the outcome of this abhorant act is seen as the catalyst to a change for respect of others to be ensured in the India Society.’

But has made me think, could something similar happen in the UK.

Now lets see, in my view this abhorant act has occurred due to to the lack of respect females in India receive and has been compounded by how this lack of respect has been allowed to become, what appears to be part of the Indian culture, by way of inaction by the Indian authorities of Law and Order over many, many years to bring this to an end.

But in the UK we have Laws, which are upheld, to punish anyone found guilty of rape and thereby do respect the Rights of the female population.

But is this lack of respect shown in other ways?

Currently there is a major investigation under way with regards to alleged pedophile activity spread over the last 40 – 50 years, which it is alleged took place in some of the Establishments of the UK, namely, BBC, some hospitals, some mental institutions and children’s care homes.

There are also reports of abuse occurring in some of the care establishments involved in the care of our elderly, Winterborne view Hospital being only one.

In both of the above mentioned the practices or alleged practices had been ongoing for many years and the appropriate authorities at all the establishments had failed for one reason or another to act on reported comments of abusive acts taking place. This lead to the culture of abuse to continue unheaded, with the authorities, apparently condoning the committing of these acts of abuse. I say, condoning the acts of abuse, as in my view if  you are aware of allegations of abuse and you fail to act upon this information, you are actually condoning the act. Also, in my view, you are therefore as guilty as the perpreters of the abusive acts. The rights of the people being abused have not been respected.

So back to my original headline ‘India RAPE, could it happen in the UK?’.  While rape does occur in the UK, I hope it will never be allowed to manifest, as it as apparently has done so in India.  But if we do not all respect the Human Rights of each and every other person in the UK, other forms of abuse could continue to occur, with the perpreters being allowed to go unpunished.

When I mention Human Rights, as stated above, I am not relating to the Human Rights Act of 1998, as I believe this Act itself is the creator of many instances of injustice.  It is debatable, but why should the rights, for UK prisoners and illegal immigrants, as are interpreted from the Act, override the Rights of the citizens of UK. It is my belief, if you commit a crime you, as well as losing your freedom for the term of your prison sentence, you also lose your right to have Human Rights for this period. Also for illegal immigrants, how can they claim to have Human Rights to settle in the UK, if there came here illegally.

But that is something to consider for a further article.

UK prisoners want IVF


Prisoners human rights for IVF

So the Human Rights legislation strikes again, but why is it always on the side of the wrong people. Where are the rights of the law abiding decent people of the UK. In this instance the act is being used to confer rights for prisoners to have IVF.

I wonder if it would be possible for all of us to bring a Human Rights case saying, respecting the human rights of prisoners, was an infringement of our own human rights, perhaps Liberty (Human Rights) could bring the action on behalf of us. I wonder if the ECHR would decide in our favour.

Alternatively, could the loss of human rights be made a stated part of the sentence.

What ever needs to be done as to be done to right this wrong.