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Concerns About Equal Access to the Benefit and Fresh Fears Over the ‘Five-Week Wait’

A bleak Covid-19 winter is coming. Cases are soaring and the UK government has imposed a further one-month lockdown in England. The lockdown could push more than 2 million people into furlough, or temporary leave from work. Hundreds of thousands more…
Citizens Advice operates the “Help to Claim” service, which helps people apply for Universal Credit online. 
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Summary “I skip a meal so my children can eat and to ensure that the bills are paid.” -Janet, 35, March 2020   “Janet R.,” 35, a single mother who works at a college student advice center in London, suddenly found herself on the verge…
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Government’s Flawed ‘Universal Credit’ Algorithm Pushing People into Poverty

(London) – The United Kingdom government’s rigid insistence on automating Universal Credit threatens the rights of people most at risk of poverty, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. A comprehensive redesign of how the government…
202009eca_uk_universal credit_thumbnail
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Ruling a Victory for Claimants’ Rights, but Problems Remain

When Rachelle, 35, a single working mother in London, received her first Universal Credit payment in March, she had a panic attack. It was far short of what she needed to pay the rent and support her two children, one of whom has a disability. “I am…
A branch of the UK employment social security agency where claimants seek assistance with their benefits, Newcastle, March 4, 2020.
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Rest of UK, Europe Should Follow

The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed it will allow women in England temporarily to manage medical abortions at home in light of the lockdown imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Health authorities in Northern…
Demonstrators take part in the Abortion Rights Campaign's annual March for Choice, September 29, 2018.
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Legal Green Light for Abortion Services, Same-Sex Marriage Only a First Step

Clocks over Northern Ireland were counting down as the region prepared for a leap toward furthering equality. At midnight on Monday, legislation came into force that decriminalized abortion and legalized same-sex marriage in…
Equal marriage supporters at Maverick Bar, Belfast, celebrate the change to abortion and same sex marriage laws in Northern Ireland
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US Could Use Data Demanded from UK – But Pretend It Didn’t

After heated debate, the United Kingdom has just inched closer to adopting laws that would allow the United States to demand and obtain digital evidence – such as e-mails, texts, and chats – directly from companies that are storing it…
WhatsApp and Facebook messenger icons are seen on an iPhone in Manchester , Britain March 27, 2017.
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Press Visiting Junta Leader to Fulfill Promises on Rights, Democracy

(London) – UK Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron should press Thailand’s junta leader to respect human rights and ensure a rapid transition to democratic civilian rule, Human Rights Watch said today. Prime Minister Gen…
A Pro-democracy activist holds a fan during protest against junta near Democracy Monument in Bangkok, Thailand February 10, 2018. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
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UK Home Secretary Suggests Only Bad Guys Want ‘Unbreakable Security’

In a recent op-ed, United Kingdom Home Secretary Amber Rudd argued strong encryption was thwarting the government’s ability to monitor terrorists and criminals. Rudd expressed skepticism about the need for end-to-end encryption,…
WhatsApp and Facebook messenger icons are seen on an iPhone in Manchester , Britain March 27, 2017.
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Boots Pharmacy in the UK Reveals Sexism in Refusal to Lower Cost of Morning-after Pill

British-based pharmacy mega-chain Boots is refusing to follow in the footsteps of its competitors and lower prices for the morning-after pill, citing fear of a moralistic public backlash. Now they are facing a firestorm of controversy…
A sign outside a store of pharmacy and cosmetics chain Boots is seen in London, May 16, 2011.
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Funding Abortions for Women Who Travel to England is Only an Interim Solution

The UK government just took an important step in announcing – following a campaign and under pressure from parliament – that the National Health Service (NHS) will carry out abortions at no cost to pregnant women and girls from Northern…
Women gather in Parliament Square for a protest in support of legal abortion in Northern Ireland, Britain, June 24, 2017.
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It is a rare law enforcement officer or intelligence agent who doesn’t want access to more information. Yet total information awareness, to use a term from the George W. Bush administration era, has never been possible. Some people whisper to avoid prying…
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Says Hostile to Privacy, Democratic Freedoms

This week, the European Union’s top court once again found that blanket data retention mandates are hostile to privacy and democratic freedoms, and incompatible with EU law. Such mandates require service providers to store data on all of the provider’s…
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Applicants Seek to Know if GCHQ Spied on Them, Legally or Not

Human Rights Watch and six individuals lodged a challenge with the European Court of Human Rights, demanding that the UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal confirm whether or not they were subject to surveillance by GCHQ. The challenge, filed on November 4,…
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Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who will be in London next week to pitch foreign investment, is mired in political controversy at home. The corruption scandal involving the government-owned 1 Malaysia Development Berhad fund refuses to…
Malaysia's (L-R) Prime Minister Najib Razak and King Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah wave Malaysian national flags during National Day celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, August 31, 2015.
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On January 6, a retired 36-year veteran of the National Security Agency turned whistleblower, William Binney, cautioned United Kingdom lawmakers against legalizing mass surveillance in the proposed Draft Investigatory Powers Bill. Binney told the…
A man and woman use their mobile phones as commuters walk past the columns of the Bank of England in the City of London, July 3, 2012.
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Parliament Should Amend It to Prevent Mass Surveillance

(London) – A surveillance bill the United Kingdom government presented to parliament on November 4, 2015, would enshrine the UK’s already overly broad surveillance practices in law and expand the government’s reach even further into peoples’ lives, Human…
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Privacy Violations in Intercepting, Retaining, Sharing Data With NSA

Human Rights Watch and three anonymous individuals filed a complaint today over surveillance by the United Kingdom. The complaint by Human Rights Watch to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) charges its rights had been violated…