Let’s Vote for Human Rights

Posted on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

On Thursday 3 May, elections will be held in some local authorities across the country.

The right to vote, set out in Protocol 1, Article 3 of the Human Rights Act, is a vital prerequisite for a democratic society. At René Cassin, we see the upcoming local elections as a chance to ensure a renewed commitment from Local Government representatives to human rights and social justice. Below is a short briefing regarding two policy ‘asks’ which members of the Jewish community can put to their local candidates.

You can find out here whether elections will be taking place in your local area and access information about registering here.

To vote in a local election on Thursday 3 May, you need to do register TODAY (Tuesday 17 April).

What are local elections?

Local elections are a chance for you to vote for councillors to represent your local ward as part of the local council. Your local council has responsibility for services such as housing and planning, schools, waste collection and community initiatives.

Electors can vote for candidates all from one party, a mix of parties, or independent councillors who are not affiliated with any political party.

The list of candidates standing in your local area will be published online by your local elections office. Enter your postcode for information on your local elections office here.

Policy ‘Asks’

  1. Tackling hate crime in the community
  2. Supporting victims of modern slavery

Tackling Hate Crime in the Community

In recent times in Britain we are seeing a marked increase in hate crime, which affects all minority communities.  As human rights defenders, we must continue to stand together against all forms of hate.

In July 2016 the Home Office published ‘Action Against Hate: The UK Government’s plan for tackling hate crime’. The Action Plan sets out five areas to focus on in tackling hate crime: preventing hate crime, responding to hate crime in our communities, increasing the reporting of hate crime, improving support for the victims of hate crime, and building our understanding of hate crime.

We ask that local candidates commit to adopting the Government Action Plan to tackle hate crime.

Supporting Victims of Modern Slavery

As stated by the Local Government Association, Councils have a key role to play in tackling modern slavery, including in identifying and supporting victims and working in partnership locally.

Victims of modern slavery are identified and supported through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). Currently, once a victim is identified, they are given 90 days support in the “reflection and recovery period”. However, once that 90 days is over there is an increased risk that victims either end of homeless or get re-trafficked (many often get re-trafficked after becoming homeless).

The ‘Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities’, published in by the UK Government in February 2018, includes explicit guidance for local authorities on providing homelessness services to victims of modern slavery.

We ask that local candidates commit to supporting victims beyond the 90-day period and follow Government guidance regarding homelessness.

ACTION POINTS

Tweet your local candidates!

(Dear @XXX,) Hate crime reporting has risen, how will you address #hatecrime and discrimination faced by minority groups in (INSERT LOCAL AUTHORITY NAME)?

(Dear @XXX,) will you commit to supporting victims of #modernslavery after the 90-day ‘reflection and recovery period’?

Find out where hustings are taking place in your local area and ask the candidates if they support our policy asks.

You might also get a knock on the door from local campaigners. If that happens, take the opportunity to ask about the issues that matter to you. Ask your friends and family to do the same

Please do let us know about any responses by emailing info@renecassin.org.

Don’t forget to vote!