Government consultation: Civil Society Strategy – Have Your Say

Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) logo

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have launched a February 2018 consultation seeking views on our civil society. This consultation will inform the civil society strategy.

Responses must be made by 22 May 2018.

The government want to know what is working well and what they can do to strengthen it further.

The consultation will also help them understand how they can work with and for civil society to:

Support people – including young people – to play an active role in building a stronger society
Unlock the full potential of the private and public sectors to support social good
Help improve communities to make them better places to live and work in
Build stronger public services. 
Read more and respond to the consultation.

Equality and Human Rights Commission response: Department for Education’s Consultation on Sex and Relationships Education and PSHE

The EHRC logo.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission have published their response to the consultation on the changes to teaching of sex and relationship education, and PSHE, in February 2018.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission recommends:

Schools should take a rights-based approach to the whole-school environment, by addressing all subjects from the perspective of ensuring respect for individuals’ human rights
The Department for Education should improve training and guidance for teachers so that they can more comprehensively consider the needs of all pupils
When faced with requests to withdraw, schools should ask parents to state in writing their reasons for wishing to withdraw their child.
Read the full response. 

House of Commons Library briefing paper: Workers Underpaid the Minimum Wage

The House of Commons logo.

The true extent of underpayment is very difficult to estimate, but a range of 1 to 2 million underpaid workers is likely, or between 4% and 9% of employees aged 25 and above.

This is according to the February 2018 briefing paper (pdf) from the House of Commons Library, which looks at what is known about workers paid less than the minimum wage. 

The paper finds:

HMRC found 98,150 underpaid workers in 2016/17. This was an increase of 69% from 2015/16, and the largest annual total on record
Data from the LFS indicates that 77% of those who usually do one or more hours of unpaid work per week are not paid a fixed hourly rate. In other words, most unpaid time is done by employees on a salary
For the same reason, ASHE does not capture the informal economy, for example, work paid cash in hand. Informal work is likely to have a higher rate of non-compliance with the minimum wage.

Scottish Human Rights Commission report: Building a Human Rights Culture in Scotland

The Scottish Human Rights Commission logo.

Human rights belong to everyone. We all have rights regardless of sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age, income, gender, country of birth or belief.

This is from the February 2018 report from the Scottish Human Rights Commission on building a human rights culture in Scotland.

The research tested and identified the impact of different types of messages on people’s attitudes towards human rights

The report finds:

Demographic groups of women and 16-24 year olds were most likely to become more supportive and engaged with human rights when exposed to key human rights messages
When talking about human rights, organisations involved in human rights secured the greatest levels of trust amongst all those surveyed, with 58% of participants saying they would trust them a great deal or fair amount.
This compares to 17% for a famous singer, actor, sportsperson or musician who is well known for caring about human rights
Different spokespeople affected the impact of messages. For example across all those surveyed, a disability rights campaigner has more impact than the Chair of the National Human Rights Institution when discussing disability rights.
Read the full report (pdf).

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights report: Migration to the European Union – Five Persistent Challenges

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)

‘Asylum-seeking children in several EU Member States had no or limited access to education’, says a February 2019 report (pdf) from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).

Building on the findings of their October 2016 report (pdf), this report presents the most pressing fundamental rights concerns between October 2016 and December 2017.

The report finds:

Legal and practical obstacles to accessing legal aid, information and interpretation existed in all EU Member States covered
Sexual and gender-based violence in reception centres remains an issue in some EU Member States
Police and border guards reportedly ill-treated migrants, particularly on the Western Balkan route, and in Spain in certain locations.
Read the full report (pdf).

Public Law for Everyone: Human Rights Post-Brexit, the Need for Legislation?

‘There are no quick fix solutions. The enactment of new legislation to protect human rights post Brexit is probably best left for after Brexit, allowing for broader consultation and reflection’.

This is according to Professor Mark Elliott who published a February 2019 article exploring how human rights should be protected in the future post Brexit. 

Read the full article. 

House of Commons Library briefing paper: Rough sleeping (England)

The House of Commons logo.

‘Relationship breakdown is the largest single trigger of rough sleeping, leading to 42% of male rough sleeping’.

This is according to the February 2018 briefing paper (pdf) from the House of Commons Library. This paper provides background information on the problem of rough sleeping in England, and outlines Government policy on this issue.

The paper finds:

The most recent statistics published on 25 January 2018 recorded a 169% increase in the number of people sleeping rough in England since 2010
Among women, 35% slept rough after leaving home to escape domestic violence
Rough sleeping is at its most severe in London.
Read the full report (pdf).

Human Rights Watch report: World Report 2018

Human Rights logo

Despite allegations of serious abuse in immigration detention centers, the UK
persisted in not imposing a maximum time limit for immigration detention, and
continued to detain asylum-seeking and migrant children.

This is from the January 2018 report (pdf) from the Human Rights Watch (HRW). World Report 2018 is their 28th annual review of human rights
practices around the globe.

The report summarises key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide, drawing on events from late 2016 through November 2017. 

The report finds: 

Germany over the past year made headlines when the Alternative for Germany (AfD) became the first far-right party to enter its parliament in decades
Despite a strong tradition of protecting civil and political rights, Australia has serious unresolved human rights problems. Australia continued in 2017 to hold asylum seekers who arrived by boat on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and on the island nation of Nauru, where conditions are abysmal
Bahrain’s human rights situation continued to worsen in 2017. Authorities shut down the country’s only independent newspaper and the leading secular-left opposition political society. 
In Bangladesh, civil society groups faced pressure from both state and non-state actors, including death threats and attacks from extremist groups.

Read the full report (pdf).