The UK is lagging behind when it comes to meeting the human rights recommendations previously made by the United Nations, an influential coalition of groups has argued.
The organisations’ report, which was overseen by the British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR), is particularly scathing about the Government’s threat to axe the Human Rights Act.
Pressing ahead with such a provocative move will only serve to “denigrate” international human rights laws and could set a worrying precedent, they argue.
The submission, filed with the UN headquarters in Geneva, said: “There is increasing concern that the UK’s political rhetoric will, if not checked, threaten the coherence and credibility of the post Second World War human rights settlement.”
As part of the UN’s periodic review process, all 193 member states undergo a regular assessment of their human rights practices and face questions about any perceived failings.
Ahead of an appearance at the human rights council, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from the country in question have the opportunity to raise any concerns they may have.
The report – which included contributions from organisations including Unicef, the TUC and Rights Watch – has been submitted in advance of the UK’s scheduled appearance early next year.
Stephen Bowen, the BIHR’s chief executive, said: “The UK government needs to listen, not just to the United Nations but to the voices of the huge range of organisations closer to home that have shared their serious concern.
“They are troubled the government is taking the UK towards further isolationism and disregarding the United Nations, worsening the situation with welfare and legal aid cuts, and wanting to scrap the Human Rights Act, weakening its accountability for our rights at home as well as internationally.”
Concerns have also been raised that a significant number of the more than 130 recommendations made during the last review process, in 2012, have not been acted upon.
At Lester Morrill, our Public Law team has brought numerous successful challenges where we have relied on the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Human Rights Act, to protect our clients’ fundamental rights. To find out more about our services, please contact us today.