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Threats to Human Rights Act risk undermining fundamental freedoms, warns Humanists UK

Humanists UK has warned against proposals to weaken the Human Rights Act, in response to a call for evidence by the Joint Committee on Human Rights into the Government’s Independent Human Rights Act Review.

In its submission, Humanists UK has highlighted the importance of the Human Rights Act as a signature piece of legislation that enables ordinary citizens to hold the Government to account, such as with the exclusion of humanism from the school curriculum. It has cautioned that without the Act, fundamental freedoms could be placed in jeopardy and British citizens could become less able to enforce their rights.

Humanists UK also called for exceptions to the Act to be removed, which currently allow religious – sometimes highly evangelical – organisations to provide public services without being bound by its anti-discrimination protections.

Humanists UK leads a coalition of over 150 charities, trades unions, and human rights organisations in calling for the protection of the Human Rights Act and judicial review. It also has submitted their joint statement on the matter to the Committee.

Humanists UK’s Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson said: 

‘For the past twenty years, the Human Rights Act has been the bedrock of our fundamental freedoms in the UK. And it is hard to imagine that anyone might prefer the system which existed before, where ordinary citizens were deprived of the ability to challenge abuses of public power, defend key liberties, or secure basic rights before our national courts. It is essential that any review about the future of our human rights does not pave the way for the erosion of the Human Rights Act as a mechanism for protecting citizens’ freedoms.’


For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.

Read more about the  Joint Committee on Human Rights inquiry.

Humanists UK’s response to the Committee will be published by the Committee in due course.

Read more about the Government’s Independent Review of the Human Rights Act Review.

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