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Letters: The legacy of the Magna Carta

10 December 2014

Today marks the 66th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – a 'Magna Carta for all humanity'

This letter appeared in the Telegraph today

SIR – Today, as the world marks the 66th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – that “Magna Carta for all humanity” – we call on those in positions of power to reflect on the meaningful, often quiet, ways that human rights make a difference to people in their everyday lives.

From ensuring protection for those receiving care services to equality for same-sex couples, our Human Rights Act is helping to deliver the promise of the UDHR in Britain; the promise that each person’s equal dignity and worth is respected.

The legacy of Magna Carta – which has its 800th anniversary in June – is that the exercise of political power cannot be unrestrained: it must follow the law.

We hope that 2015 will be the year that those in power stand with us to respect human rights laws.

Stephen Bowen

Director, British Institute of Human Rights

Gary Fitzgerald

Chief Executive, Action on Elder Abuse

Paul Breckell

Chief Executive, Action on Hearing Loss

Steve Johnson

Chief Executive, Advice UK

Richard Williams

Chairman, Age Alliance Wales

Jeff Hawkins

Chairman, Board of Directors, Age Connects Wales

Brian Sloan

Chief Executive, Age Scotland

Caroline Abrahams

Charity Director, Age UK

Samantha Mauger

Chief Executive, Age UK London

Matthew Evans

Director, AIRE Centre

Joe Powell

Director, All Wales People First

Henry Simmons

Chief Executive, Alzheimer Scotland

Kate Allen

Director, Amnesty International UK

Federico Moscogiuri

Chief Executive Officer, ARMA

Sally Gibson

Artistic Director, Artspace Cinderford

Shaminder Ubhi

Director, Ashiana Network

Wayne Myslik

Chief Executive, Asylum Aid

Ewan Roberts

Manager, Asylum Link Merseyside

Donna Covey

Director, AVA (Against Violence and Abuse)

Abdul Khan

Chief Executive Officer, BECON

Priscilla Nkwenti

Chief Executive, BHA for Equality

Ann Chivers

Chief Executive, BILD (British Institute of Learning Disabilities)

Elizabeth Prochaska

Co-Chair, Birthrights

Asif Afridi

Deputy Chief Executive Officer, BRAP

Tom Hore

Director, Bristol Mind

Bridget Robb

Chief Executive Officer, British Association of Social Workers

Andrew Copson

Chief Executive, British Humanist Association

Dr Mark Porter

Chair of Council, British Medical Association

Helena Herklots

Chief Executive, Carers UK

Judith Wester

Director, CEDAR CIC

Prof Katja Ziegler

Director, Centre for European Law and Internationalism

Paola Uccellari

Director, Children's Rights Alliance for England

Jim Bowen

Director, Clynfyw Carefarm

Jatin Haria

Executive Director, Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights

Annemarie Monaghan and Lynn G Blair

Directors, Community Brokerage Network

Liz Sayce

Chief Executive Officer, Disability Rights UK

Barbara Cohen

Chair, Discrimination Law Association

Leigh Daynes

Chief Executive Officer, Doctors of the World

Carol Boys

Chief Executive, Down's Syndrome Association

Shona Laidlaw

Manager, Dundee Independent Advocacy Support

Bharti Patel

Chief Executive Officer, ECPAT UK

Arvinda Gohil

Chief Executive, Emmaus UK

Sarah Green

Acting Director, End Violence Against Women (EVAW)

Jo Glanville

Director, English PEN

Amanda Ariss

Chief Executive, Equality and Diversity Forum

Jago Russell

Chief Executive, Fair Trials International

Steve Miller

Senior Consultant, Faith Based Regeneration Network UK

Mustafa Field

Director, Faiths Forum for London

Cathy Ashley

Chief Executive, Family Rights Group

Julia Bleet

Chair, Free Cakes for Kids Hackney

Jonathan Hyams and Andrew Gough

Co-Directors, FRESh

Chris Whitwell

Director, Friends, Families and Travellers

Bernard Reed

Trustee, Gender Identity Research & Education Society (GIRES)

Sam Smethers

Chief Executive, Grandparents Plus

Bella Kosamala

Director, Greenwich Migrant Hub

Reverend Mike Firbank

Vicar for Church Gresley, Gresley Church

Helen Hibberd

Centre Manager, Hackney Migrant Centre

Councillor Rob Polhill

Leader of Halton Borough Council, Halton Borough Council

Sandie Smith

Chief Executive Officer, Healthwatch Cambridgeshire

Emma Craig

Chair, Healthwatch Hackney

Rosie Newbigging

Chief Executive Officer, Healthwatch Northamptonshire

Cornelius Katona

Medical Director, Helen Bamber

Damien Short

Director, Human Rights Consortium, University of London

Alison Gerry

Chair, Human Rights Lawyers Association

David Mepham

UK Director, Human Rights Watch

Simon Hancock

Board Member Equality Champion, Hywel Dda University Health Board

Adrian Berry

Chair, Immigration Law Practitioners' Association

Imran Khan

Partner, Imran Khan and Partners

Helen Shaw and Deborah Coles

Co-Directors, INQUEST

Sara Khan and Kalsoom Bashir

Co-Directors, Inspire

Jo Baker

Chief Executive, International Service

Habib Rahman

Chief Executive, JCWI

Shauneen Lambe

Director, Just for Kids Law

Ratna Lachman

Director, JUST West Yorkshire

Tatiana Garavito

Director, Latin American Women's Rights Service

Julie Bishop

Director, Law Centres Network

Andrew Caplen

President, Law Society

Steve Hynes

Director, Legal Action Group (LAG)

Jenny Beck and Nicola Mackintosh

Co-Chairs, Legal Aid Practitioners Group

Paul Fitzgerald

Interim Chief Executive Officer, Leicester LGBT Centre

Sean Humber

Head of Human Rights Department, Leigh Day

Paul Martin

Chief Executive, Lesbian and Gay Foundation

Jenny Rowlands

Chief Executive, Lewes District Council

Paul Roberts

Chief Executive Officer, LGBT Consortium

Shami Chakrabarti

Director, Liberty

Anna Gaughan

Chief Executive, Life Story Network

Eithne Rynne

Chief Executive, London Voluntary Service Council

Phillip Watson

Chief Executive, Manor Gardens Welfare Trust

Paula Twigg

Director, Mary Ward Legal Centre

Dan Squires

Head of Human Rights Department, Matrix Chambers

Emma Mlotshwa

Coordinator, Medical Justice

Zrinka Bralo

Executive Director, Migrant and Refugee Communities Forum

Don Flynn

Director, Migrants Rights Network

Paul Farmer

Chief Executive Officer, Mind

Deborah Gold

Chief Executive, NAT (National Aids Trust)

Annette Lawson

Chair, National Alliance of Women's Organisations (NAWO)

Des Kelly

Executive Director, National Care Forum

Rob Greig

Chief Executive, National Development Team for Inclusion

Jeremy Taylor

Chief Executive, National Voices

Gabby Briner

Chief Executive Officer, Network for Change

Julia Lyford

Chair, North East Equalities Network

Colin Devine

Coordinator, North West Community Network

Anjona Roy

Chief Executive, Northamptonshire Rights & Equality Council

Patrick Yu

Executive Director, Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities

Sarah Yiannollou

Managing Director, NSUN

Kath Parson

Chief Executive, Older People's Advocacy Alliance

Karen Chandler

Coordinator, Pembrokeshire People First

Sally Daghlian

Chief Executive, Praxis

Lu Thomas

Chair, Pride Cymru

Juliet Lyon

Director, Prison Reform Trust

Ross Diamond

Chief Officer, Redbridge Council for Voluntary Services

Carla Ferstman

Director, Redress

Rita Chadha

Chief Executive Officer, Refugee & Migrant Forum of East London

Maurice Wren

Chief Executive, Refugee Council

Shauna Leven

Director, Rene Cassin

Clare Algar

Executive Director, Reprieve

Emma Scott

Director, Rights of Women

Michele Lamb

Head of Department of Social Science, Roehampton University

Andy Gregg

Chief Executive, ROTA (Race on the Agenda)

Professor Cathy Warwick

Chief Executive Officer, Royal College of Midwives

Dr Peter Carter

Chief Executive & General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing

Dr Omar Khan

Director, Runnymede Trust

Barbara Natasegra

Chief Executive, Safer Wales

Marjorie Wallace

Chief Executive, SANE

Robert Sutherland

Convener, SCOLAG

Richard Hawkes

Chief Executive, Scope

Tam Baillie

Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People

Jane Gordon

Co-Founder, Sisters for Change

Sharon Allen

Chief Executive Officer, Skills for Care

Cath Evans

Chief Executive Officer, Slater & Gordon (UK) LLP

Daisy Bogg

Co-Chair, Social Perspective Network

Briget Robb

General Secretary, Social Workers Union

Hannana Siddiqui

Coordinator, Southall Black Sisters

Jan Gavin

Chief Executive, Southern Advocacy Services

Gil Baldwin

Chief Executive Officer , St Andrew's Healthcare

Joy Hibbins

Director, Suicide Crisis

Ngoyi Barthelemy Malumba

Managing Director, Tameside Human Rights Watch

Dr Rosemary Gillespie

Chief Executive, Terrence Higgins Trust

Dr Dimitrina Petrova

Executive Director, The Equal Rights Trust

Sarah Rochira

The Older People's Commissioner for Wales

Jon Barrick

Chief Executive Officer, The Stroke Association

Juliet Harris

Director, Together Scotland

Penelope Gibbs

Director, Transform Justice

Martin Coyle

Director, True Voice

Frances O'Grady

General Secretary, TUC

Bridget Warr

Chief Executive Officer, UK Homecare Association

Dave Prentis

General Secretary, UNISON

Diana Holland

Assistant General Secretary, Unite

Natalie Samarasinghe

Executive Director, United Nations Association - UK

Alexandra Runswick

Director, Unlock Democracy

Mike Sherriff

Chief Executive, Voluntary Action Islington

Phil Jarrold

Chief Executive, Wales Council for Voluntary Action

Steve Clark

Managing Director, Welsh Tenants

Eleri Butler

Chief Executive, Welsh Women's Aid

Jonathon Toye

Co-ordinator, West Norfolk Disability Information Service

Joyce Kallevik

Director, Wish

Rachel Halford

Director, Women in Prison

Vivienne Hayes

Chief Executive Officer, Women's Resource Centre

Polly Neate

Chief Executive Officer, Women's Aid

Annie Campbell

Director, Women's Aid Federation Northern Ireland

Sharon Baxter

Trustee and Chair of the Advocacy Committee, Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance

Harkirit Bopari

Coordinator, York City of Human Rights

Tom Doyle

Chief Executive, Yorkshire MESMAC Group of Services

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