Protecting Human Rights in the UK

The UK Human Rights Act (1998) protects the rights of vulnerable people and minorities. But that protection could be seriously limited if the Act is repealed, amended or replaced.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 Human Rights Act ensures that all UK public bodies (such as courts, police, local governments, hospitals, publicly funded schools) and other bodies carrying out public functions comply with the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

The rights protected by the HRA 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.

Campaign Updates:

“We need to make the case for human rights values” – René Cassin Director

Mia Hasenson-Gross marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

“We cannot be complacent” – Board of Deputies

BoD President marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

“We must work and fight for human dignity” – Chief Rabbi

Chief Rabbi marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Is the Rule of Law under threat?

René Cassin hosts roundtable discussion with leading experts, led by Lord Daniel Finkelstein

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

by Caroline Beck, Trustee, KeshetUK This year, we celebrate 20 years since the passing of the Human Rights Act, the landmark piece of UK legislation that has been protecting human rights, and in particular the rights of LGBT+ people, in almost every walk of life since. There are many ways in which the UK Human […]

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

By Jess Baker @jessica_baker_ It is 7pm in a dull Calais car park, and well fed refugees are wandering away from our vans into the dark. I’ve finished my actual job on the hot food distribution, having spent an hour ferrying hot curry to replenish busy serving tables, wiping surfaces and organising a cramped van. […]

René Cassin Praises the Human Rights Act in Submission to Parliamentary Inquiry

In evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights, René Cassin highlights the importance of the Human Rights Act (HRA) in improving people’s lives in the UK, by letting people raise legal claims in the UK. Furthermore, the section 6(1) provision in the HRA, which makes it unlawful for public bodies to act in a […]

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

By Lee Wax, Communications & Training Manager at Jewish Women’s Aid This past year marks the 20th anniversary of the UK Human Rights Act. It has also seen unprecedented change in the social climate and discourse around violence against women. We’ve witnessed the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, the disclosures of previously covered-up sexual harassment in […]

Happy 20th Birthday, Human Rights Act!

This week René Cassin is celebrating twenty years of UK Human Rights

Sunrise, not Sunset: a short film celebrating the Human Rights Act

How the Human Rights Act kept an elderly couple together

Over 30 Rabbis and other leaders of the Jewish community sign our letter to David Davis MP

René Cassin urges the govt to use Brexit to protect and strengthen human rights.

Ruling on religious burials recognises our individuality, our freedom and our humanity

High Court upholds principles laid down 70 years ago in Universal Declaration of Human Rights

EU Withdrawal Bill Update

Find out the latest updates as the bill goes through the House of Lords

Let’s Vote for Human Rights

Don’t forget to vote at the local elections – Thursday 3 May

René Cassin statement on anti-Semitism – Wednesday 28 March

Many women continue to suffer from inequality in their homes, employment and in state institutions

Let’s take the Human Rights road to Brexit

Please help us make sure nobody loses their rights on the Brexit journey

René Cassin statement on International Women’s Day – Thursday 8 March

Many women continue to suffer from inequality in their homes, employment and in state institutions

The Human Rights Act – protecting the victims of crime

The Supreme Court has put down a very clear marker for victims’ rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70 – a cause for celebration, a time to remember

The UDHR was the civilised world’s response to the horrors of the Holocaust

Leaving the EU should not cost us important rights

René Cassin joins 30 other organisations to express concerns about impact of the EU Withdrawal Bill

What have Human Rights got to do with us?

Debora Singer writes movingly about her own family history…

Keir Starmer ‘put through his paces’ at René Cassin event

Click here to view full video recording of Keir’s conversation with Jo Coburn

Happy birthday to ‘the Father of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’

René Cassin was born 130 years ago today

Where now for Human Rights?

Times columnist David Aaronovitch leads expert discussion of challenges and opportunities ahead

New Human Rights Act School Resources

***deadline – 6 Feb*** “The great human rights issue of our time”. Do you agree?

Let’s Remake the Case for Human Rights Together

The election results are in … now our real work starts

What do the Manifestos say about Human Rights?

The key questions to ask your candidates

Five key questions to ask your local candidates

Human Rights and the General Election

Brexit – human rights are vital to a successful transition

Human rights allow prosperity, peace and freedom to flourish

Preserve Churchill’s vision of human rights, René Cassin tells Prime Minister

European Convention on Human Rights is essential to a ‘Global Britain’

Professor Sir Nigel Rodley – 1 December 1941 to 25 January 2017

We mourn the death of a friend who was a towering figure of human rights

René Cassin submits evidence on Brexit and the Implications for Human Rights

Read our submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights’ inquiry

Could the UK be doing more on human rights?

René Cassin have submitted evidence to the UK’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. The UPR is a UN process that all 193 member countries go through every four and a half years to review their domestic human rights situation, and set recommendations for future progress. In our submission, René Cassin raised four main issues for the UK […]

Concern over plans to repeal the Human Rights Act

Today, forty Rabbis – coordinated by René Cassin – have written to new Justice Secretary, Liz Truss, urging her to keep the UK’s Human Rights Act

Rabbis urge new Justice Secretary to keep Human Rights Act

Today, forty Rabbis – coordinated by René Cassin – have written to new Justice Secretary, Liz Truss, urging her to keep the UK’s Human Rights Act

Refugees, Asylum Seekers and the Human Rights Act

‘Refugee rights have always been precarious, and the state of politics in Europe and Britain make them look more vulnerable than ever’

Ben Brodie researches what impact repeal of the Human Rights Act might have on refugees and asylum seekers.

History Shows why we need a Human Rights Act – Dominic Grieve

Writing in this week’s Jewish Chronicle, Conservative MP and former Attorney-General, Dominic Grieve QC, sets out why the Jewish community should care about the Human Rights Act.

Human Rights are a legacy of the Holocaust

“On the day the world reflects on one of the darkest episodes in human history, we should also remember that our rights and liberties – vital to protect us from such tyranny in the future – are hard-won, but easily squandered.” Holocaust Memorial Day – joint René Cassin / Liberty statement

Mental health and the Human Rights Act

‘For people who suffer from mental health issues, human rights legislation in the UK has proved a critical tool in securing justice and developing safeguards for their protection’ We looked at why the Human Rights Act has been good for those with mental health issues and what the ramifications of scrapping the Act would be […]

Latest Human Rights Act Briefing

Ahead of our sold out JW3 event with Dominic Grieve MP QC on January 21st we have put together a brief update on where the conversation surrounding the Human Rights Act is up to: You can download the briefing here. We will be live tweeting the event from 7pm until 8.30pm on Thursday night and […]

René Cassin Review of Limmud 2015

Limmud Conference 2015 saw René Cassin present a number of human rights talks on issues surrounding our campaign areas. Our Campaigns Manager, Sam Grant, joined Adam Wagner and Aviva Dautch to examine Magna Carta and its connections with today’s debate over the Human Rights Act. Sam also presented two sessions with Rabbi Natan Levy on the indefinite detention of […]

Human Rights Day – René Cassin signs joint letter to political leaders

  René Cassin has joined over 150 other organisations in calling on political leaders to stand with us this Human Rights Day. We have called on them to join in our celebration of the Human Rights Act and the way it strengthens our democracy, not weakens it. The letter was published in the Times today. Read […]

René Cassin briefs MPs before Human Rights Day Parliamentary Debate

Today, on International Human Rights Day, Backbench MPs will debate the following motion: ‘This House has Considered the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights Across the World on International Human Rights Day’. It is the first debate on human rights during this government so it was an important opportunity to have the Jewish voice heard. Have a look at […]

Happy Human Rights Day!

On this day in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Read our latest blog piece on why, 67 years on, it is as important as ever. Happy Human Rights Day!

Happy Birthday to the Human Rights Act

Happy Birthday to the Human Rights Act. Today marks the 15th anniversary of the Human Rights Act (HRA) as UK law. It’s a piece of legislation that has helped many seek justice and correct wrongs. Yet there is a chance it won’t have another anniversary as the government seeks to repeal it and replace it […]

Human Rights Tour – Day of Action

Sunday 4 October, 11am-3pm at JHub, Haskell House, 152 West End Lane, London, NW6 1SD

Join us for a Young People’s Day: awareness raising and community debate for young people, marking 15 years of the Human Rights Act and what it means for us all.

New Article: Creeping conservatism of UK courts in Article 8 cases

The Human Rights Act is often criticized for affording too many people the right to stay in the UK due to their right to a family life, even if they have committed crimes. Melissa Goldstein analyses recent cases surrounding Article 8 and finds that UK judges are currently interpreting Article 8 in far narrower terms. Download the […]

From Magna Carta to Harmondsworth

From Magna Carta to Harmondsworth Article on the contradiction of celebrating the 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta in an era where the UK is the only country in Europe not to have an upper time limit on detention.

Save the Human Rights Act

Human Rights are Equally Ours Sometimes you can’t appreciate the value of something until it is taken away. So it is with human rights. Here is Ruth Barnett, talking about why she believes that as a Holocaust survivor human rights are vital for everyone.The government has announced its intention to ‘bring forward proposals for a […]

There’s No Such Thing as Trivial Rights

There’s No Such Thing as Trivial Rights The Conservative Party’s proposal to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA), argues that one of the HRAs shortcomings is its failure to distinguish between serious and trivial human rights. This article, by Talina Hurzeler, explores how this proposed distinction contradicts the contemporary international understanding of the human […]

Protecting Parliamentary Sovereignty: A Justification for Repealing the HRA?

The legislative framework for safeguarding human rights came about because of the need to protect people from the overweening power of the state – as witnessed by Nazi and Soviet atrocities in the 20th century. The UK was one of the first countries to ratify the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) by enacting the […]

‘Human Rights: Protecting. Empowering. Inspiring.’

Concentration camp with rail line

We mark International Human Rights Day 2014 by publishing ‘the Jewish case for human rights’. Read how human rights laws are vital to real people who are suffering, or have suffered, persecution and discrimination.

The ‘simplicity’ of Human Rights

By Sam Grant, René Cassin Campaigns and Programmes Officer, July 2014   “Human rights are inscribed in the hearts of people; they were there long before lawmakers drafted their first proclamation.”  Mary Robinson  What is a Human Right? Briefly put, a human right is a right you have by virtue of being human. However, this […]