• 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

  • Oct 1, 2014
    The British government is still fighting case after case concerning allegations of abuses by its forces during the 2003 Iraq conflict.
  • Sep 29, 2014
  • Sep 29, 2014
    UK political parties should commit to protecting the UK’s Human Rights Act (HRA) and upholding the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) if they win the May 2015 general election.
  • Sep 4, 2014
    The UK government should address, not dismiss, evidence that employers have abused migrant domestic workers in the UK, Human Rights Watch and the UK charity Kalayaan said today. A draft law before parliament is aimed at combating forced labor and other criminal offences but does not address a visa system that contributes to the abuse of migrant domestic workers by their employers.
  • Jul 31, 2014

    With horrendous reports of death and destruction coming from Ukraine, the UK Home Office continues to regard it as a “safe country of origin” for asylum seekers. That means a Ukrainian asylum seeker landing at Heathrow tonight would still be forced to overcome a presumption that his asylum claim is frivolous.

  • Jul 31, 2014

    Human Rights Watch welcomes the upcoming review of the United Kingdom (UK) by the Human Rights Committee. This briefing provides an overview of our main concerns with regard to the UK’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). We hope it will inform the Committee’s pre-sessional review of the UK and that the areas of concern highlighted here will be reflected in the list of issues submitted to the UK government ahead of the review.

  • Jul 23, 2014
  • Jul 17, 2014
  • Jul 17, 2014
    Governments around the world should heed the findings of the UN’s human rights commissioner on mass surveillance. Governments should rein in mass surveillance and respect the privacy of all Internet users, no matter where they are located.
  • Jul 14, 2014
    Emergency legislation announced by the UK government on July 10, 2014, that would grant the British intelligence and law enforcement agencies access to data about millions of people’s communications is a blow to the right to privacy.