Today is Human Rights Day and Age Cymru is one of 72 organisations who are calling on Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, to secure and advance the Human Rights Act, following a defeated motion supported by 72 MPs to repeal the Human Rights Act.
Here is an open letter to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister that Age Cymru has signed:
To the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon David Cameron MP and the Deputy Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP:
Global Human Rights Day provides an opportunity to reflect on how we can secure progress on human rights, not only internationally but here at home.
On this day we seek your assurances that the legal protection of universal human rights in the UK is safe.
The last twelve months have witnessed some developments for human rights in the UK.
The UK has completed its second United Nations Universal Periodic Review process, has signed if not yet ratified the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women, and we welcome recent commitments to ensuring equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.
Nevertheless the general direction of travel on human rights issues remains a concern.
We often see people unable to access justice and fair process and the continued neglect and abuse of some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable members of our communities.
What has not changed over the past year is the increasingly worrying tone of our domestic debates about human rights and the Human Rights Act.
In the UK, what should be a healthy debate about how best to secure the human rights of each and every one of us has, for far too long, lacked political leadership.
This places our reputation for international human rights leadership at risk.
It also jeopardises the progress we have made at home in ensuring that our human rights obligations lead to real change for people in their everyday lives.
We know from the people we work with that human rights, and the Human Rights Act, play a powerful role in supporting us all through times of difficulty and protecting us from abuse and injustice when the system fails; helping to create a respectful and fair society.
This essential role of human rights is all too often obscured; yet it is these unheard stories that demonstrate how essential human rights are to us all.
From the Magna Carta to the Human Rights Act the UK has a long and proud history of recognising the need for legal limits on the exercise of State power.
The protection of human rights by the law is fundamental to our modern and diverse democracy.
The UK seeks to champion human rights abroad; now is the time to show leadership here at home, to re-connect the debate to the country's traditional values of fair play and our belief in basic human dignity and justice for everyone.
In the coming weeks you will no doubt be considering the report of the Commission on a UK Bill of Rights.
As you do so we seek your assurances that the protection of universal human rights is safe in the UK.
For us this means securing and advancing our Human Rights Act.
We look forward to receiving your response.
- Stephen Bowen, Director, British Institute of Human Rights
- Gary Fitzgerald, Chief Executive, Action on Elder Abuse
- Robert Taylor OBE, Chief Executive, Age Cymru
- Duane Farrell, Director of Policy, Age NI
- Brian Sloan, Interim Chief Executive, Age Scotland
- Caroline Abrahams, Director of External Affairs, Age UK
- Kate Allen, Director, Amnesty International UK
- Geof Armstrong, Director, Arcadea
- Maurice Wren , Director, Asylum Aid
- Dann Kenningham, National Coordinator, ATD Fourth World
- Davina James-Hanman, Director, AVA (Against Violence and Abuse)
- Abdul Khan, Chief Executive, BECON
- Nik Barstow, Director of Engagement & Involvement, BHA
- Andrew Copson, Chief Executive, British Humanist Association
- Ann Chivers, Chief Executive, British Institute of Learning Disabilities
- Brian Gormally, Director, CAJ (Committee on the Administration of Justice)
- Peter Newell, Coordinator, Children are unbeatable! Alliance and Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children
- Paola Uccellari, Director, Children's Rights Alliance for England
- Paula Hardy, Prif Weithredwraig / Chief Executive, Cymorth i Ferched Cymru / Welsh Women’s Aid
- Monica Wilson, Chief Executive, Disability Action NI
- Liz Sayce OBE, Chief Executive, Disability Rights UK
- Catherine Casserley, Chair, Discrimination Law Association
- Beryl Randall, Director, Employability Forum
- Jo Glanville, Director, English PEN
- Amanda Arissl, Chief Executive, Equality and Diversity Forum
- Katie Pratt, Chief Executive, Equality South West
- Holly Dustin, Director, EVAW (End Violence against Women Campaign)
- Keith Best, Chief Executive, Freedom from Torture
- Deborah Gold, Chief Executive, Galop
- Christl Hughes, Secretary, Gender Identity Research & Education Society (GIRES)
- Samantha Smethers, Executive Director, Grandparents Plus
- Benjamin Ward, Deputy Director, Human Rights Watch
- Tracey Lazard, Chief Executive, Inclusion London
- Helen Shaw and Deborah Coles, Co-Directors, INQUEST
- Yvonne MacNamara, Chief Executive, Irish Traveller Movement in Britain
- Shauneen Lambe, Executive Director, Just for Kids Law
- Ratna Lachman, Director, JUST West Yorkshire
- Julie Bishop, Director, Law Centre Network
- Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, President, Law Society of England and Wales
- Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive, Lesbian and Gay Foundation
- Shami Chakrabarti, Director, Liberty
- Eithne Rynne, Chief Executive, London Voluntary Services Council
- Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Mind
- Deborah Jack, Chief Executive, NAT (National AIDS Trust)
- Annette Lawson, Chair, National Alliance of Women’s Organisations
- Des Kelly OBE, Executive Director, National Care Forum
- Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive, NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations)
- Patrick Yu, Executive Director, Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities
- Kath Parson, Chief Executive, Older People's Advocacy Alliance (UK)
- Karen Chandler, Campaigns Co-ordinator, Pembrokeshire People First
- Vaughan Jones, Chief Executive, Praxis Community Projects
- Juliet Lyon, Director, Prison Reform Trust
- Sarah Crowther, Director, REAP (Refugees in Effective and Active Partnerships)
- Shan Nicholas, Interim Chief Executive, Refugee Council
- Simon Abel, Director, Rene Cassin
- Elizabeth Henry, Chief Executive, ROTA (Race on the Agenda)
- Rob Berkeley, Director, Runnymede Trust
- Billy Watson, Chief Executive, SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health)
- Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive, Scope
- Durrah Mahmood, Trustee, Songololo Feet
- Dr Dimitrina Petrova, Executive Director, The Equal Rights Trust
- Robert Sutherland, Convenor, Scottish Legal Action Group
- Alison Marshall, Director of Public Affairs, UNICEF UK
- Phil Mulligan, Executive Director, United Nations Association – UK
- Peter Facey, Director, Unlock Democracy
- Joyce Kallevik, National Director, Wish
- Rachel Halford, Director, Women in Prison
- Nicki Norman, Deputy Chief Executive, Women’s Aid
- Annie Campbell, Director, Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland
- Vivienne Hays, Chief Executive, Women’s Resource Centre
- Tom Doyle, Director, Yorkshire MESMAC
- CC: All MPs and Peers