• The European Court of Human Rights and domestic Human Rights Act face ongoing political and media attack. The government failed to honor its promise to convene an independent judge-led inquiry into UK complicity in overseas rendition and torture, giving the task instead to a parliamentary committee lacking the necessary independence and transparency. Alleged mass phone and internet surveillance by a UK intelligence agency raised concerns about privacy rights in the UK and abroad and prompted a belated review by the deputy Prime Minister and calls for reform from the political opposition. A government draft bill aimed at tackling modern slavery omitted reform of immigration rules that heighten the risk of forced labor for migrant domestic workers.

  • A domestic worker holds up her UK Overseas Domestic Worker visa. Following changes to the immigration rules in April 2012, workers entering the UK on this visa are not permitted to change employer, making them more vulnerable to abuse.
    Migrant domestic workers accompanying their employers to the United Kingdom are being subjected to serious abuses including forced labor, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The UK government is doing far too little to protect vulnerable workers, and recent changes to UK immigration rules make it harder for workers to flee abuse, the report found.

Reports

United Kingdom

  • Apr 16, 2014
  • Apr 8, 2014
  • Apr 8, 2014
    We are writing in response to the government’s announcement on 19 December 2013 that the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) has been tasked with examining allegations of UK complicity in torture and other ill-treatment of detainees held overseas; allegations that previously had been the subject of the Detainee Inquiry, chaired by Sir Peter Gibson.
  • Apr 8, 2014
  • Apr 7, 2014
    The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has committed to abolish what she calls "modern day slavery", and within weeks will present a bill to parliament making it easier to prosecute and punish those responsible for human trafficking, forced labour, domestic servitude and slavery. But one highly vulnerable group - migrant domestic workers - are currently omitted from the scope of the proposed legislation. The government is doing far too little to protect them, and through changes to immigration rules, has actually made it harder for them to access help.
  • Mar 31, 2014
    Migrant domestic workers accompanying their employers to the United Kingdom are being subjected to serious abuses including forced labor, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The UK government is doing far too little to protect vulnerable workers, and recent changes to UK immigration rules make it harder for workers to flee abuse, the report found.
  • Mar 10, 2014
    Human Rights Watch submits the following information to the Committee’s Privacy and Security Inquiry, based on public statements by Human Rights Watch following the publication by the Guardian of revelations on surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). Firstly, we highlight the urgent need for clarity from the government as to the scope and magnitude of the alleged surveillance by GCHQ. Secondly, the law governing surveillance must be brought up to date in a way that protects the right to privacy and, thirdly, the government should create a more robust and transparent oversight authority to protect against breaches of that right.
  • Feb 17, 2014
    Prince Charles has an opportunity on this visit to go beyond talking in generalities about inter-faith dialogue and tolerance to the very Gulf rulers whose governments consistently repress dissent and subject women, religious minorities and migrant workers to egregious abuses. We urge him to do so and to confound his minders and advisers by speaking up for rights and justice.
  • Feb 10, 2014
    The 18th edition of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London will be presented from 18 to 28 March, 2014, with a programme of 20 award-winning documentary and feature films.
  • Jan 21, 2014
    The British government appears very reluctant to press human rights concerns with sufficient vigour or consistency