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The UK Government is planning to repeal the Human Rights Act and to replace it with a British Bill of Rights. If this happens, this may have a devastating impact on the rights and freedoms of non-religious people, such as humanists.

Please take a minute to urge your MP to oppose these reforms, so that the non-religious can continue to have the same freedoms and protections from discrimination as their religious counterparts.

We’ve suggested some text you can use, but please, if you are able, edit it to make it more personal – we know that MPs are more likely to take notice of personalised emails and queries, which are infinitely more powerful than standard letters.

How will these reforms affect the non-religious?

At present, the Human Rights Act means that public bodies and the courts are able to read additional words into laws and policies, where this is required in order to uphold human rights. In particular, where a law or policy just refers to religion, this can be understood to include non-religious beliefs, even though those words are not written in the law or policy itself. Therefore the Act makes it possible to stop such laws and policies discriminating against the non-religious without anyone having to go to court. And if someone does have to go to court, the court can then fix the problem without the public body having to change the policy, or Parliament having to amend the law. The Bill of Rights may take this power away, making it harder for non-religious people to use the Act to challenge discrimination wherever they face it. The Bill proposed when Boris Johnson was Prime Minister was going to take this power away. It is as yet unclear if the Bill under Rishi Sunak will do the same.

Many important advances in the rights and freedoms of non-religious people have relied upon this power in the Act. Two examples are the legal recognition of humanist marriages in Scotland in 2005 and in Northern Ireland in 2017. Similarly, in 2018 the Welsh Government concluded that non-religious worldviews such as humanism had to be equally included in Religious Education for this reason. Humanists UK has also successfully used the Act to challenge local authorities that have refused humanists membership of local statutory bodies. And the Act has led prisons and NHS Trusts to employ like-minded pastoral carers for non-religious prisoners and patients, alongside religious chaplains.

Tips on adapting the letter

On this page, you’ll find a default model letter that we highly recommend you personalise (Members of Parliament are more likely to take notice of personalised emails and queries).

The personal touch goes a long way with MPs. We recommend that you explain why it matters to you, your family or people in your local area that the non-religious should continue to be equally protected in law. If you have any accounts or stories about people you know who have been affected by this issue make sure to include those.

If you are, parent, carer, or teacher, you might want to raise why it is important for you to have a curriculum that is inclusive of humanist beliefs

If you have had, or want a humanist wedding, you might want to add why it is important for you to have a ceremony that reflects you and your partners deeply held beliefs. 

If you have, or would like to, make use of a non-religious pastoral carer in a hospital or other setting, you might want to add how this support helped you and why it is important that it is available. 

MPs can be very busy and receive a large number of letters, so may not respond immediately. If you have not received a response within two weeks of writing, you should send a follow up email.

Enter your postcode into our system and we will automatically identify your MP for you.

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