What we do

We operate independently to strengthen human rights protection and equality legislation, including:

  • promoting awareness, understanding and protection of human rights

  • encouraging public authorities to comply with the Human Rights Act

  • protecting those most at risk of human rights abuses

How we do it

The way we do this includes: 

  • challenging government and public service providers if they breach human rights, using our legal powers

  • monitoring the human rights situation in Britain, then reporting our findings and recommendations to the UN, the government and Parliament

  • reporting on Britain’s progress in protecting equality and human rights as part of our duty under the Equality Act 2006

  • advising on the human rights implications of policies and proposed legislation, for example by providing parliamentary briefings and responding to government consultations

Our work with the United Nations (UN)

We promote, monitor and report on seven UN treaties signed by the UK – an important part of our role as a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI).

We also feed into the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). This is a peer review process conducted by the UN Human Rights Council to assess the human rights situation in every UN Member State.

As part of this process, we give statements to influence the UK government on various human rights issues.

We also help civil society organisations understand their rights and support them to engage with UN human rights processes to assert those rights. We encourage and defend their ability to advocate for change at the domestic level.

Our recent research with the University of Nottingham assesses the extent of civil society’s engagement with UN human rights treaties and review mechanisms and, crucially, how this engagement can be strengthened.

How is the UK performing on human rights? Our human rights tracker is an online tool to help you track how well the UK is putting its human rights duties into practice. Read more about our capacity building work, including the free training we are offering on how to use our human rights tracker tool.