Here’s why we must protect the Human Rights Act

Helen Burton SUS-150709-171138001
Helen Burton SUS-150709-171138001

This week a series of posters have appeared across the London Underground which depict British people who have been protected by the Human Rights Act.

In one, Catherine Smith found out the truth about what had happened to her son who died of heatstroke while serving in Iraq by employing Article 2 of the Human Rights Act (the right to life). In another Jan Sutton was able to take legal action against her local council to increase the amount of care she received after she was left in bed all day, every day, by her carers after employing Article 8 of the Human Right Act (the right to private life). Mark Neary employed Article 5 an 8 of the Act (the right to liberty and the right to a family life) to bring his autistic son home after he was taken away and put into care. There are many basic human rights enshrined in law because of the Human Rights Act and it protects all of us. You won’t know you need the Human Rights Act until you do, but that fact that it is there means that any of us have can fight for our basic human rights if we believe they have been abused. The Conservative government have stated their intention to scrap the Human Rights Act, and this has prompted a group of well-known lawyers to join forces to campaign to protect the Act. The lawyers used crowdfunding to pay for the poster campaign and it raised £50,000 in under a month. Many firms of solicitors donated money, along with people who had been protected by the Act and members of the public. The group hope to raise further funding in order to put the posters across the rail network. You can sign a letter to justice secretary Michael Gove in support of the Act at the campaign’s website www.actfortheact.uk or you can add to their funds at www.crowdfunder.co.uk

In other ethical news this week also related to human rights the UN official Raquel Rolnik has said that the bedroom tax should be scrapped. She has been leading an investigation into housing around the world for the UN human rights council and came to the UK recently for two weeks during the course of her investigation. The full report is not due to be published until next April, but ahead of this she has stated publicly that the bedroom tax breaches human rights as it is a violation of the human right to adequate housing. Rolnik, who spoke directly with dozens of council house tenants, is concerned with how badly the policy is affecting “the most vulnerable, the most fragile, the people who are on the fringes of coping with everyday life”. Eastbourne People’s Assembly has a group working on local housing issues and if you want to get involved or let them know your housing issues you can email them at East
bourne.peoplesassembly@yahoo.co.uk

In the meanwhile please do all you can to support the Human Rights Act!