Protect human rights and access to law, say charities in open letter

18 February, 2020

A wide variety of charities and other human rights-interested groups and individuals have joined together in writing an open letter on the need to protect human rights and legal mechanisms such as judicial review, to ensure the rights and freedoms of all are protected under the law. The letter, which Humanists UK coordinated with help from Index on Censorship, and which appears in The Telegraph today, calls on the Government to uphold freedom and justice and protect these vital mechanisms. The letter is in response to the possibility that the Government is interested in reviewing both these areas.

The letter and signatories are below, as published in The Telegraph:

While every system could be improved, and protecting rights and freedoms for all is a balancing act, our Human Rights Act is a proportionate and well-drafted protection for the fundamental liberties and responsibilities of everyone in this country.

The Act guarantees the rights to free speech and expression, to life, to liberty, to security, to privacy, to assembly, and to freedom of religion or belief. It prohibits torture and guarantees fair trials and the rule of law.

Judicial review is an indispensable mechanism for individuals to assert those rights and freedoms against the power of the state. Any government that cares about freedom and justice should celebrate and protect these vital institutions and never demean or threaten them.

Andrew Copson, Chief Executive, Humanists UK
Jodie Ginsberg, Chief Executive, Index on Censorship
Aderonke Apata, African Rainbow Family and Manchester Migrant Solidarity
Jules Carey, Partner, Bindmans LLP
Louise King, Director, Children’s Rights Alliance for England
Adam Wagner, Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers
Peter Kumar, Chair, Discrimation Law Association
Kamran Mallick, CEO, Disability Rights UK
Daniel Gorman, Director, English PEN
Dr Wanda Wyporska, Executive Director, The Equality Trust
Sarah Mann, Director, Friends, Families, Travellers
Bernard Reed OBE, Trustee, Gender Identity Research and Education Society
Andrew Neilson, Director of Campaigns, Howard League for Penal Reform
Enver Solomon, CEO, Just for Kids Law
Julie Bishop, Director, Law Centres Network
Karen Smith, Coordinator, Lesbian Immigration Support Group
Martha Spurrier, Director, Liberty
Anthony Hudson QC, Matrix Chambers
Zrinka Bralo, CEO, Migrants Organise
Dr Greg Ussher, CEO, METRO Charity
Lukasz Konieczka, Executive Director, Mosaic LGBT Youth Centre
Deborah Gold, Chief Executive, National Aids Trust
Jim Killock, Executive Director, Open Rights Group
Jabeer Butt OBE, Chief Executive, Race Equality Foundation
Andy Gregg, Chief Executive, Race on the Agenda
Rebecca Vincent, UK Bureau Director, Reporters without Borders
Leila Zadeh, Executive Director, UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group
Sarah Clarke, Senior Policy and Communications Officer, Unlock Democracy
Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director, Women’s Budget Group


For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Press Manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at or phone 020 7324 3078 or 07393 344293.

If you are a charity and would like you name to be added to the letter, please contact