In its annual report on human rights around the world, Amnesty International has released a scathing indictment of the UK government’s attitude to human rights, claiming that it is “speeding towards the cliff edge”. It focuses particularly on policies regarding housing, immigration, and pushes to end the legal right for members of the public to challenge governmental decisions.
The report details trends in human rights both globally and with a closer inspection of 149 individual countries.
It expressed “serious concerns” about the UK’s increasingly negative attitude to preserving human rights legislation.
Amnesty were damning about the UK’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic so far, in particular the government’s refusal to learn lessons from the past or act in the interests of vulnerable people. The comparatively high death-count over the pandemic, particularly of those in care homes, and the failure to supply adequate safeguards and testing for the population caused severe concern with the organisation in this regard.
Furthermore, the report highlighted the refusal to conduct an independent inquiry into the handling of the pandemic as more evidence of a lack of care and diligence on behalf of the government.
The humanitarian organisation also cited issues such as the government’s resumed and continued arms trading with Saudi Arabia, police discrimination against black and Asian communities, and attacks on the right to protest, to highlight the country’s attitudes to human rights.
Hard line legislation also came under extreme scrutiny in the report, with Amnesty shining a light on the UK government’s reviews into the Human Rights Act, which they believe are “being sped through during the pandemic”, and could potentially reduce the public’s power to challenge government decisions. The Police, crime, sentencing, and courts bill also raised concerns for the organisation, which they say could seriously curtail the right to peacefully protest in the UK.