Creating a fairer Britain
21 May 2010
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has welcomed proposals from the Government for a judicial inquiry into allegations that the British security services knew about the torture of terrorism suspects.
The Commission wrote in February this year to the previous Home Secretary calling for an independent review to urgently investigate more than 20 allegations that the Government knew of, and was complicit in, the torture of Britons being held abroad.
The Commission is concerned that the previous Government had already sought, via the courts, to suppress evidence of its agency’s knowledge of the torture of Binyam Mohamed. It is therefore calling for any judicial review to be independent and as open and transparent with the public as possible.
The Commission believes that any independent review needs to be robust, open and thorough and in particular:
The Commission's role in protecting human rights in Britain is recognised by the UN. It has a formal role in the UN system of monitoring international treaties on human rights. It also reports to the UN Human Rights Council on Britain's record of protecting the basic rights of British people.
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The Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission. It is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain. It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights. The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender status, and encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act. It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals.