Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
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UN Review of Britain's human rights record

The findings of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s formal review of human rights in England and Wales have been supported by a new report by the United Nations.

The UN Human Rights Council issued the UK’s  latest human rights “report card” on Thursday 24 May 2012. Sixty-one countries commended the UK’s ongoing commitment to human rights but made recommendations for improvements.

As part of the UN’s review, the Commission submitted evidence that showed that people in Britain are fortunate to have their human rights upheld in most ways, but the government could do more to protect the human rights of some people – including those using care services and crime victims. 

The UN’s 132 recommendations encourage the UK to strengthen human rights protection for vulnerable individuals.  It says the government must ensure that children, women, ethnic minorities and disabled people are protected from violence and discrimination.

The UN also recommends that the rights set out in the Equality Act, the Human Rights Act and international human rights laws are preserved.  It notes that the right balance must be found between security and people’s basic rights, for example in the areas of stop and search, counter-terrorism and migration policy.

A spokesperson for the Commission said:

“Thanks to Britain’s long and passionate commitment to human rights, most people in our country can live their lives as they wish to. But we cannot take those rights for granted and there is always room for improvement. This review by the UN supports our own assessment of human rights in England and Wales and recognises the importance of our independent role as one of the UN’s National Human Rights Institutions.”

For more press information contact the Commission’s media office on 020 3117 0255, out of hours 07767 272 818. For general enquiries please contact the Commission’s national helpline: England 0845 604 6610, Scotland 0845 604 5510 or Wales 0845 604 8810.

Notes to editors

The UN assesses the human rights record of every country every four years in a Universal Periodic Review. Find out more: http://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/upr/pages/uprmain.aspx

Electronic copies of “How Fair is Britain? An assessment of how well public authorities protect human rights” is available at: http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/humanrightsreview. In gathering the evidence for the review, the Equality and Human Rights Commission consulted extensively with non-government organisations, human rights specialists and legal and policy experts as well as consulting government departments. The report was reviewed and quality assured by academic and legal experts before publication.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006. It took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission.  It is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain.  It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights.  The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, and encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act.  It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals. 

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