Lecture: What are the key human rights challenges in Wales?

The Equality & Human Rights Commission in Wales held its 3rd annual human rights lecture, given by Baroness Nuala O’Loan DBE, on 2 October 2012.

The lecture attracted a wide audience ranging from public authorities, health professionals, criminal justice agencies, 3rd sector organisations as well as academics, and they joined in a lively debate around the key human rights challenges in Wales.

Some of the key issues raised included:

  • In order to make human rights ‘real’ we need to find small but significant examples of individual experiences. Here the EHRC’s digital stories were cited as good examples of providing the ‘human’ side to experiences.
  • We need to find a language to describe human rights that people can relate to and find a way to communicate this clearly and effectively.
  • Concerns were raised around human rights not being embedded in medical training and in the medical profession more generally.
  • There was discussion about disability related harassment and its inclusion in the strategic equality plans of public authorities in Wales. There was recognition of the 3rd sector’s key scrutiny role in ensuring objectives are delivered.
  • A fundamental question raised was how to change the public’s perception of human rights? For example the media portrayal of disabled people in relation to welfare reforms.
  • The forthcoming Police & Crime Commissioners were recognised as having a key role to play in relation to human rights in the most disadvantaged communities.

At the end of the debate the audience were asked to pledge to do at least one thing to promote human rights within their respective organisations.