The campaign focuses on countries with which the United Kingdom has close economic, cultural or historical ties and where there are serious human rights abuses, as it is over these countries over the UK is able to exercise significant diplomatic pressure to help end such abuses.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of human rights abuses by Britain’s allies and identify where the British government is complicit or apathetic to them. It will produce a series of policy proposals for a Labour-controlled Foreign Office, to map out a vision of Britain as a champion of human rights on the world stage.
We are urging the next Labour government to deepen its commitment to social justice by introducing a Social Rights Bill that enshrines into law our rights to education, food, health, housing and work.
In 2016, Jeremy Corbyn asked Lord Willy Bach to undertake a review of the legal aid system. Lord Bach set up the Bach Commission on Access to Justice, with the aim of setting out how the state can guarantee access to advice or representation for those who need it to enforce their rights. The Commission’s premise is that access to justice is a public service alongside education and healthcare.
The Commission published its interim report in November 2016, entitled ‘The crisis in the justice system in England & Wales’. The report’s findings note that the number of legal advice centres has more than halved between 2005 and 2015, and cuts to the government’s legal aid bill have been “at great cost to citizens’ access to justice”.
In this campaign we seek to demonstrate why the Bach Commission’s review is so important by explaining through examples the value of legal aid in ensuring that human rights protection is a reality for all individuals. In doing so, we make two key points: legal aid is necessary for a fair society and the operation of an effective justice system, and the provision of timely legal advice can generate huge costs savings for the state in the long-term.
Since being passed in 1998, the HRA has protected rights across the board, from care home residents being protected from having their homes closed without consultation to protecting the victims of rape and sexual assault from serial predators like John Worboys. It has been used to protect vulnerable young women suffering from mental health difficulties and abuse. And it has been the HRA that has empowered the families of British servicemen in Iraq to hold the government to account for failing our soldiers on the front line.
The Labour Campaign for Human Rights remains committed to protecting the HRA and defending the rights that it has safeguarded for over 20 years.
The Labour Party needs to do more work on what a warmer world will look like. We are currently on course for runaway climate breakdown which will potentially result in the death and displacement of hundreds of millions of people. We need to make sure that the United Kingdom is supporting friends across borders and protecting human rights across the globe. We have to be a welcoming place for refugees.
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With the assistance of a group of expert advisors, and with input from all the different constituent parts of the Labour movement, LCHR will examine the challenges and opportunities that Brexit poses for human rights in the UK. We will invite submissions from MPs, trade unions, civil society, Labour CLPs and members, and like-minded political parties, and holding high-level workshops focusing on the key issues. We will produce policy analysis and ideas to help inform the Labour Party and other progressive parties on how to ensure human rights are protected during and after Brexit.