Today (10th December 2022) on Human Rights Day and the final day of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, 69 survivors, frontline support services, campaigners, researchers, lawyers, and experts in violence against women and girls (VAWG) have sent a joint statement to government, calling for Parliamentarians to save the Human Rights Act and resist the so-called Bill of Rights.
This statement has been published following news that Justice Secretary Dominic Raab is pushing to ensure the widely-named Rights Removal Bill returns to Parliament, despite widespread opposition.
The Human Rights Act is an essential tool to protect women and girls facing all forms of gender-based violence. It is used to ensure that action is taken to keep us safe in schools, by local councils, by health services, social services and by the police. And when institutions, like the police, fail us, the Human Rights Act is often the only tool available to hold them to account and provide justice for those harmed.
Signatories of the statement include individuals and survivors of gender-based violence who have successfully relied on the Human Rights Act to seek justice and answers when the police, and other institutions, have failed them:
- Nour Norris, bereaved sister of Khaola Saleem and aunt to Raneem Oudah, and who relied on the Human Rights Act to ensure a full inquest was held which highlighted shocking and multiple police failures in the lead-up to their murders.
- Bekhal Mahmod, bereaved sister of Banaz Mahmod, and who successfully relied on the Human Rights Act to seek justice for police failures following her sister’s murder.
- Kate Wilson, survivor who relied on the Human Rights Act to successfully challenge the Metropolitan Police for their use of undercover police against protest movements.
- DSD, survivor of John Worboys who relied on the Human Rights Act to successfully challenge the police for their multiple investigative failures.
- NBV, survivor of John Worboys who, together with DSD, relied on the Human Rights Act to successfully challenge the police for their multiple investigative failures.
- Claire Waxman OBE, who relied on the Human Rights Act to successfully challenge the Crown Prosecution Service for not pursuing the prosecution of her stalker, and failing to protect her from psychological harm caused by further acts of harassment.
The statement was also signed by 60+ organisations working to end violence against women and girls:
- Against Violence and Abuse (AVA)
- Agenda Alliance
- The Angelou Centre
- Apna Haq
- Asian Women’s Resource Centre
- Centre for Military Justice
- Centre for Women’s Justice
- Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit
- Deaf Ethnic Women’s Association
- End Cyber Abuse
- End Violence Against Women Coalition
- Equality Now
- Faith and VAWG Coalition
- Fawcett Society
- FORWARD UK
- Hawa Trust
- HER Centre
- Hull Sisters
- Humanists UK
- Juno Women’s Aid
- Kairos Women Working Together
- Kurdish and Middle Eastern Women’s Organisation (KMEWO)
- Latin American Women’s Aid
- Latin American Women’s Rights Service
- London Black Women’s Project
- Micro Rainbow
- Middle Eastern Women & Society Organisation (MEWSo)
- National Federation of Women’s Institutes
- Network of Eritrean Women-UK
- One Voice 4 Traveller
- Own My Life Course
- Police Spies Out Of Lives
- Race Equality Foundation
- Rape Crisis England & Wales
- Rape Crisis Scotland
- RASASC – Rape Crisis South London
- René Cassin
- Rights Of Women
- Safety4Sisters NW
- Scottish Women’s Aid
- Solace Women’s Aid
- Southall Black Sisters
- Surviving Economic Abuse
- Welsh Women’s Aid
- White Ribbon UK
- Women’s Aid Federation England
- Women’s Aid Northern Ireland
- Women and Girl’s Network
- Women’s Budget Group
- Women for Refugee Women
- Women in Prison
- Women’s Resource Centre
Director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, Andrea Simon, said:
“The so-called Bill of Rights would take away some of the most fundamental legal protections that victims and survivors have long relied on to hold the state to account, to protect them from harm, and to seek justice when authorities fail to keep them safe.
We are now at the stage where survivors and bereaved family members who have relied on the Human Rights Act feel they have to warn the government of the harms of these plans.
Scrapping the Human Rights Act undermines those commitments made by government to victims and survivors of violence, and will drastically impact people’s access to justice, accountability and healing. These plans amount to a Rights Removal Bill which endangers women and girls.”
For more information and case studies on how the Human Rights Act protects women and survivors, and how the so-called Bill of Rights would threaten this, see this recent report by The End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW), Rights of Women, Southall Black Sisters and the Centre for Women’s Justice
Sinead Geoghegan, Communications Manager, End Violence Against Women Coalition, 07960 744 502 email@example.com
Jessye Berkowitz-Werner, Communications Manager, Rights of Women, 07828930160 firstname.lastname@example.org