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UK’s Human Rights Report Card Marked

Joint Statement of UK Civil Society Organizations following the Universal Periodic Review of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

November 15, 2022

This text is an edited version of the original joint UK civil society statement which can be accessed here in a format including the logos of signatory organizations. The text below has been amended for publication on Human Rights Watch’s website to ensure consistency with house style.

On Thursday November 10 member states of the UN Human Rights Council called on the UK Government to take action to better realize rights in the UK during the ‘Universal Periodic Review’,[i] particularly for disabled people, children, women, Black and other racialized groups, migrants and those seeking asylum.

The review highlighted a wide range of areas where the UK Government is failing to meet its international legal obligations including:

  • Deep concerns that the ‘Rights Removal Bill’ will undermine the protections and remedies provided by the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights
  • The rights of children. Specific recommendations were made to:
    • Develop a child rights action plan
    • Raise the age of criminal responsibility to at least 14
    • End detention of children in adult prisons, solitary confinement, and racial disproportionality in the youth justice system
    • Ensure unaccompanied asylum-seeking children have their family unification rights respected  
  • The incompatibility of the Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda, which will see asylum seekers expelled to Rwanda, with the UK’s obligations, including under the 1951 Refugee Convention
  • Rising levels of poverty, including food insecurity and access to adequate housing, with the particular effects this has on children and disabled people
  • Rising hate crime levels across the UK, including in relation to disabled people, women, people of colour and in relation to religious background
  • Discrimination faced by Trans people in the UK in the realization of a large range of their rights
  • The need to bring international human rights into domestic legislation, including the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment
  • The removal of reservations to the Istanbul Convention to ensure adequate protection of all women and girls, including migrants, from violence

As civil society organizations across the UK we call upon the UK Government to:

  1. accept the recommendations made during the Universal Periodic Review
  2. take action (including legal changes) to implement recommendations made during this, and previous reviews
  3. commit to an improved engagement with civil society and affected people (including particularly impacted groups highlighted above) during each phase of the review, including the implementation of recommendations
  4. adopt a National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP), which encompasses economic, social and cultural rights, building on the good practices demonstrated in Scotland,[ii] which would include consistent and meaningful dialogues with civil society to ensure wider protection of human rights
  5. establish a ‘National Mechanism for Reporting and Follow-up’ (NMRF) to coordinate the implementation of recommendations from the UPR and provide transparency on progress of this work
  6. reaffirm its commitment to human rights and its international obligations, in particular by scrapping current plans to undermine the Human Rights Act by replacing it with a Rights Removal Bill and confirming its commitment to implement the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights whether interim or final.

We make these calls with the aim of working together with the UK and devolved governments in the hope of meaningful use of the Universal Periodic Review and the better protection of human rights in the UK. The UK continues to position itself as a world leader in terms of human rights and the Universal Periodic Review is an excellent opportunity to illustrate this commitment on the global stage.

  1. Alliance for Choice
  2. Alliance for Youth Justice
  3. Article 12 in Scotland
  4. Article 39
  5. Association for Real Change
  6. Asylum Aid
  7. Belfast Feminist Network
  8. Birthrights
  9. Black Equity Organisation
  10. Black South West Network
  11. British Institute of Human Rights
  12. C-Change Scotland
  13. Carers Trust
  14. Carers Trust Scotland
  15. Carers Trust Wales
  16. CEDAW in Law
  17. Centre for Military Justice
  18. Children in Scotland
  19. Children’s Rights Alliance for England
  20. Clan Childlaw
  21. Diverse Cymru
  22. Edinburgh Development Group
  23. Empower Women for Change
  24. End Violence Against Women Coalition
  25. Equally Ours
  26. Face Equality International
  27. Fair Vote UK
  28. Faith Voices for Reproductive Justice
  29. Families Outside
  30. Focus The Identity Trust
  31. Forward South Partnership
  32. Freedom from Torture
  33. Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE)
  34. Helen Bamber Foundation
  35. HEReNI
  36. Human Rights Consortium Scotland
  37. Human Rights Watch
  38. Imaginate
  39. Includem
  40. Inclusion North
  42. Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
  43. Just Fair
  44. Just For Kids Law
  45. JustRight Scotland
  46. Law Centres Network
  47. Lawyers Against Poverty
  48. Liberty
  49. medConfidential
  50. Mermaids
  51. Migrant Voice
  52. Northern Ireland Rural Women Network
  53. Observatory on Human Rights of Children (Wales)
  54. One Parent Families Scotland
  55. Oxfam GB
  56. Prisoners' Advice Service
  57. Race Equality First
  58. Reclaim the Agenda
  59. The Refugee Council
  60. René Cassin
  61. Rights & Security International
  62. Rory O’Connell, Professor of Human Rights and Constitutional Law, Ulster University
  63. Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA)
  64. Scottish Women’s Aid
  65. Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance
  66. Tai Pawb
  67. The Challenging Behaviour Foundation
  68. The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute 
  69. The PILS Project
  70. TransActual UK
  71. Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights)
  72. UNISON
  74. Unlock Democracy
  75. VoiceAbility
  76. Welsh Centre for International Affairs
  77. WISH
  78. With Kids
  79. Women’s Equality Network (WEN) Wales
  80. Women’s Platform
  81. Women’s Resource and Development Agency
  82. York Human Rights City Network Executive



[i] Every four and a half years the UK undergoes a human rights review, called the ‘Universal Periodic Review’, when other member states of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations review the UK’s human rights record and make recommendations.

[ii] See in particular Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights (SNAP and SNAP 2)

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