Thursday, 17 November 2011

Statement on the UK chairmanship of the Council of Europe

Latest news:Statement on the UK chairmanship of the Council of Europe

On 7 November 2011, the United Kingdom began its 6 month chairmanship of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, where it will be prioritising the reform of the European Court of Human Rights.

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Topical issues

  • Article: Human rights and Britain's colonial past
    Read a comment piece from Trevor Phillips reflecting on the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya and the need for universal human rights, published in The Times 18/4/2011
  • Use of Mosquitos
    We have written to the government to advise that, in our view, the indiscriminate use of these teenager-dispersal devices is not lawful, and they affect all children and young people equally, not only those who may be intent on causing trouble.  
  • Austerity
    Speech by Neil Crowther, Human Rights Programme Director, entitled 'Is austerity compatible with the UK's human rights obligations and what tools of analysis are required to find out?'
  • United stand taken at UN Human Rights Council against violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity
    At the UN Human Rights Council 16th Session in March 2011, the Commission co-ordinated a joint National Human Rights Institution statement on ending acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Home care Inquiry
    We are undertaking an Inquiry into the human rights of older people receiving home-based care in England.
  • Inquiry into Human Trafficking in Scotland
    We are undertaking an Inquiry into the extent and nature of human trafficking in Scotland with a focus on commercial sexual exploitation.
  • Commission responds to the 13th report of the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR)
    In July 2010 the Commission published its response to the 13th report of the Joint Committee on Human Rights which concerned the operation of the Commission. The JCHR's comments and recommendations also concerned matters for the Government to respond to.
  • Detention without trial
    Comment piece by John Wadhan, Group Director, Legal, on why the 28-day detention without trial of suspected terorrists must not be renewed.
  • Inquiry into disability-related harassment
    We are undertaking an Inquiry into the actions of public authorities to eliminate disability-related harassment and its causes. This inquiry has been collecting evidence from disabled people who have experienced harassment to examine how well this is being addressed by public authorities.
  • Deportation and Human Rights
    Comment piece by Chair Trevor Phillips and Commissioner Geraldine van Bueren on the dangers of diluting the Human Rights Act.
  • Bill of Rights
    We have developed a set of key principles that we believe are essential in developing a Bill of Rights that will give us all the protection we need as well as embed a greater understanding of human rights principles across society.
  • National DNA database and the Crime and Security Bill
    The Commission broadly welcomes the Crime and Security Bill, which proposes a range of measures that impact on the criminal justice system. However we are concerned that the previous Governments proposals on the national DNA database fail to go far enough to give full effect to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in the case of S and Marper v United Kingdom (2008) and may remain in breach of Article 8.
  • Use of body scanners at airports
    The Commission warned the previous Government to take immediate action to bring its policy for body scanning passengers at UK airports within the law.
  • 42 day detention
    The Commission had concerns that proposals in the Counter-Terrorism Bill could breach provisions that protect people's human rights, and lead to discrimination against specific groups.
  • Putting human rights into practice
    Between October 2009 and January 2010, the Commission, in partnership with the Guardian, hosted a series of roundtables with leaders in the public and voluntary sectors to explore what human rights could look like in practice.

Legal updates

  • NS v Secretary of State for the Home Department, Court of Appeal
    The Commission intervened in this case in the Court of Appeal, about the removal of an Afghan asylum seeker from the UK to Greece under an EU law know as the Dublin Regulation. The purpose of the Commission's intervention was to ensure the correct interpretation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the related UK Protocol when EU law is being applied in the UK. Read our update for more information.
  • S and Marper v United Kingdom
    This case decided by the European Court of Human Rights held that holding DNA samples of individuals who are arrested but later acquitted or have the charges against them dropped, is a violation of the right to privacy under the European Convention on Human Rights. Find out how we are monitoring the implementation of this judgment.
  • Weaver v London and Quadrant Housing Trust
    Many social housing tenants are now protected by the Human Rights Act after this landmark ruling. The Court found that some registered social landlords will now be treated as public authorities and subject to the Human Rights Act. This means they are required to have regard for a tenants human rights when deciding whether to make an eviction order. Read our press release for more information.
  • Secretary of State for Defence v R and HM Assistant Deputy Coroner for Oxfordshire and Equality and Human Rights Commission
    The Commission intervened in this case between the mother of Private Jason Smith and the Secretary of State for Defence. The Commission argued that armed forces personnel serving overseas are protected by both Article 2 (Right to Life) of the European Convention and the Human Rights Act. For more information read our legal update on the Jason Smith case.
  • Torture allegations
    The Commission has called for an independent review to urgently investigate more than 20 allegations that the previous Government knew of, and was complicit in, the torture of Britons being held abroad. See our press release for more information.

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