Published: 10 Dec 2020
On International Human Rights Day, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has revealed the next phase of its Human Rights Tracker, providing clear analysis of where progress has been made and where there is still a distance to travel for the UK and Welsh Governments in meeting international human rights standards.
Despite positive actions in some areas, significant challenges remain and there has been worrying regression in several areas over recent years with some issues exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
The EHRC’s updated tracker makes it simple for anyone to track progress across key areas of people’s lives that have been particularly impacted by the pandemic. It highlights reductions to social care provision, stalled progress on ensuring the right to independent living by disabled people and increased numbers of children living in poverty as a result of the pandemic.
The EHRC is advising on improvements in policy and legal protection in relation to these issues as well as government action to strengthen both domestic human rights laws and the UK’s commitment to international human rights obligations. The tracker also supports the EHRC's view that debate focused around human rights can provide a useful framework to guide decision-making.
Rebecca Hilsenrath, Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:
“There is no question that the UK is facing an unprecedented time with the challenges thrown up by COVID-19 and our exit from the EU.
“We all rely on human rights. They are essential to everyday life and vital in a fair and equal society. In the current climate, it is more crucial than ever to ensure our human rights are properly protected.
“We will continue to work with UK and Welsh Governments to help ensure that human rights are properly promoted and protected, including engaging with the independent review of the Human Rights Act.
“Putting human rights at the centre of our decision-making will ensure our recovery is based on the fundamental principles that guarantee a fair and just society, and that the rights of every individual are protected.”
The UK is signed up to seven UN human rights treaties, which set the standard for human rights across the globe. The EHRC has reviewed what actions the UK and Welsh Governments have taken in relation to a number of different human rights issues, and carried out assessments of progress made.
It has looked at actions and progress since 2016, reviewing the UK and Welsh Governments separately for those human rights issues that are devolved to the Welsh Government.