Protecting Human Rights in the UK

“Human rights are an integral part of the faith and tradition of Judaism. The beliefs that man was created in the divine image, that the human family is one, and that every person is obliged to deal justly with every other person are basic sources of the Jewish commitment to human rights.” Monsieur René Cassin, 1974 (Co-drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

International human rights law developed in response to the horrors of Holocaust; a practical expression of the necessity to ensure that nation states would never again be allowed to oppress their own citizens. It is a framework that based on the principle that human rights are universal and indivisible.

The European Convention on Human Rights

Family Tree

We have created a family tree to show how key human rights treaties relate to each other.

It also shows just how many Jewish lawyers were involved in creating this international human rights framework.

Sunrise, not Sunset tells the story of an elderly Jewish couple who are heartbroken when the council allocates them to separate care homes. Then their daughter hits upon the Human Rights Act as the means to bring them back together.

Our namesake, Monsieur René Cassin, a French Jewish lawyer and judge, co-drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 to set out the fundamental principles by which all human beings should be treated. It formed the basis for a stronger regulatory framework through the European Convention on Human Rights in 1951, which was then brought into UK law as the Human Rights Act in 1998. 

The UK Human Rights Act protects the rights of vulnerable people and minorities. It ensure that all UK public bodies (such as courts, police, local governments, hospitals, schools etc) and other bodies carrying out public functions comply with the rights set out in the European Convention and in the spirit of the Universal Declaration. 

But that protection could be seriously limited if the Act is repealed, amended or replaced. Any change to this important law must build on the safeguards already provided – by enshrining additional rights in law, rather than subtracting from them.

The rights protected by the Human Rights Act include:

  • the right to life
  • freedom from torture and degrading treatment
  • freedom from slavery and forced labour
  • the right to liberty
  • the right to a fair trial
  • 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.


Making the Jewish case for human rights’ – Debora Singer and Florence Eshalomi MP (July 2022)

Campaign priorities include:

  • To promote keeping the Human Rights Act.
  • To protect the UK’s commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights.

What people say...

“Thanks so much – this is really useful, very powerful and very persuasive.”

Sector partner on unique framing by René Cassin of human rights as a legacy of the Holocaust

London Elections 2024

René Cassin asks Candidates to Make the Case for Human Rights The London Elections 2024 are due to take place on...

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