The Human Rights Act: a ‘Villain’s Charter’? - Refugee Council
December 9, 2008

The Human Rights Act: a ‘Villain’s Charter’?

By Jane, Campaigns and Public Affairs team

Tomorrow is a special day for us at the Refugee Council – it is the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  However, not everyone is celebrating this important anniversary of the momentous Declaration; some are using it as an opportunity to criticise the Human Rights Act.

The Human Rights Act incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law.  It is hugely important piece of legislation for everyone in the UK, ensuring equality before the law and guaranteeing that public organisations treat everyone equally, with fairness and respect.  It’s a vital law based on essential humanitarian principles.  To me, respect for global human rights is simple common sense and these must be upheld in every country’s legislation.

Human rights are central to the very essence of the Refugee Council’s vision: we want to see a world in which men, women and children who are forced to flee from their homes can find the protection they need, rebuild their lives in safety, and dignity and achieve their full potential. 

There is still a long way to go before the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are a reality for everyone.  Barbarous human rights abuses across the world are well documented, from the burning of villages in Darfur to individual ‘disappearances’ in Zimbabwe. 

If you’ve not read the Declaration, have a read now and feel proud of being someone who is prepared to stand up for the rights of others. 

And why not join one of the many events celebrating the anniversary?

Wednesday 10th December, 7.45pm, Purcell Room of the Southbank Centre: Celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in a night of debate, performance and film chaired by human rights lawyer and freedom of speech champion Helena Kennedy QC. Details here.

Wednesday 10th December, Advent Lecture at Westminster Abbey by Canon Theologian Nick Sagovsky:

Asylum: A Touchstone for Human Rights

If you’re not based in London, google local events to see what is going on in your area.