Just two days before the general election, party leaders have been asked to celebrate international Human Rights Day by pledging to safeguard the Human Rights Act 1998. A letter organised by the British Institute of Human Rights and endorsed by more than 100 organisations including lawyers groups, Liberty and Justice, calls for a commitment 'to protecting universal human rights in the UK'.
The signatories note the Human Rights Act draws on the universal rights set out in the 71-year old Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 'setting legal standards to protect people across the UK whether they are in hospitals or care homes, social services or places of detention, housing or schools'.
Following the election, 'many decisions will need to be made about what sort of country we want to be, going forward, and what relationship people have with those we place in power'.
It concludes: 'We ask you to stand firm on our hard-won freedoms. We ask you to stand firm on ensuring that our Human Rights Act remains an integral part not just of our constitutional arrangements, but also of people’s everyday lives, enabling us all to live with equal dignity and respect.'
The Conservative Party manifesto includes a promise to ‘update the Human Rights Act and administrative law to ensure that there is a proper balance between the rights of individuals, our vital national security and effective government’.