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DR UK responds to the shelving of the Bill of Rights

08 September 2022

Kamran Mallick, CEO of Disability Rights UK, said:

One of the new Prime Minister's first actions this week was to shelve the British Bill of Rights - or, as campaigners have named it, 'The Rights Removal Bill'. The passing of the Rights Removal Bill would have seen the withdrawal of the Human Rights Act 1998 and replaced it with dangerously fewer human rights protections. Our allies at Liberty warned that it would have been "the biggest blow to human rights in the UK in a generation."

The bill was due to have its second reading in the House of Commons next week, but it has now been shelved until further notice.

Before this announcement, Disability Rights UK, alongside 123 other social justice groups, sent a parliamentary briefing to MPs highlighting their concerns regarding the bill, and why it's essential we retain the Human Rights Act. The full briefing can be found online.

Losing the Human Rights Act would be a devastating blow to the rights of everyone in this country, but especially for Disabled people whose rights are already too often undermined and ignored. The pandemic highlighted how often Disabled people's rights are seen as optional – whether that be the implementation of non-consensual DNRs in hospital, or public calls to 'just keep the vulnerable indoors'. For those who already face barriers accessing justice, and being treated with dignity, the Human Rights Act is an essential lifeline that we cannot afford lose – and the fact that there was ever consideration to withdraw it is an unacceptable attempt at human rights suppression.

Although we are relieved to hear the news that the bill has been shelved, it's vital that none of us forget the importance of protecting the Human Rights Act – and we must be ready to challenge any potential future attacks on our rights.

We hope that the new Prime Minister and cabinet will scrap any future plans to withdraw the Human Rights Act, and instead prioritise the many urgent issues currently facing Disabled people in this country.