Happy 20th Birthday, Human Rights Act!

5 Nov, 2018 | Latest, Protecting Human Rights in the UK

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This November (2018) marks twenty years since the UK Human Rights Act received Royal Assent, through which fundamental rights and freedoms were preserved and promoted in British law.

Rights Brought Home

The Human Rights Act, ensures that individuals can claim their rights from all UK public bodies (such as courts, police, local governments, hospitals, publicly funded schools) and other bodies carrying out public functions.

The rights protected by the HRA include the right to liberty, freedom from slavery and forced labour, and many other rights that we take for granted. Importantly, these rights apply to everyone, irrespective of their race, gender, religion or other protected status.

The rights guaranteed in the Convention, and then in the HRA speak directly to the Jewish experience. At their root is the notion that all humans are vested with a dignity that governments have a duty to protect.


Examples of the HRA in action:

  • Protected freedom of religion in coroner policies on burials, “bringing some comfort to people coming to terms with the loss of a loved one”.
  • In the ‘Jungle’ judgment, the HRA allowed unaccompanied minors to join relatives and seek refuge in the UK, cutting bureaucratic red tape in the interests of the family.
  • Enabled a dedicated elderly couple to live out their final days together.
  • The introduction of procedural safeguards for the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community, which forced local authorities to consider the impact of eviction on residents.
  • Upheld the rights of patients in mental health settings.

You can more about the HRA in our submission to the Joint Committee on Human Right’s inquiry into the Human Rights Act here.


Celebrating Human Rights

Throughout the week we will be celebrating the HRA from different perspectives.

20 years of the Human Rights Act – a view from Jewish Women’s Aid

The Human Rights Act and LGBT+ Rights: Much to be Grateful For

Building for the Future: Modern Slavery and the Construction Industry

Despite Human Rights Act, UK Still Failing Asylum Seekers and Refugees


Throughout the week will be posting on social media, follow @Rene_Cassin and use #RightsBroughtHome to get involved in the conversation and help celebrate the Human Rights Act.


Let’s stay in touch!

We are constantly developing our campaigns, planning events, and cultivating discussions on Human Rights issues, sign up for our email updates and we’ll keep you informed on all we are working on and how YOU can get involved.