EHRC booklet on young people’s rights

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) booklet ‘Young people: know your rights to fair treatment’ explains the advice and support available to young women and men who are treated unfairly because of their gender, age, disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender status.

The booklet was published in September 2009.

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Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress

The Stiglitz Commission report on ‘The Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress’ was published in September 2009.

The Commission was created in 2008 by the French Government in response to concerns about the adequacy of current measures of economic performance, in particular those based on GDP figures, and the relevance of these figures as measures of societal well-being.

The Commission’s aim is to identify the limits of GDP as an indicator of economic performance and social progress, to consider additional information required for the production of a more relevant picture, to discuss how to present this information in the most appropriate way, and to check the feasibility of measurement tools proposed by the Commission.

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Report on ‘Poverty, inequality and human rights’

‘Poverty, inequality and human rights’ by Alice Donald and Elizabeth Mottershaw was published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on 3 September 2009.

The research examines how human rights have been used internationally to shape new conceptions of poverty and new approaches to combating it, and assesses the lessons for the UK.

Key points include:

  • In both wealthy and low-income countries, people working to combat poverty have used human rights to: reframe conceptions of poverty and challenge stereotypes of people affected by it; to mobilise alliances between disparate groups around anti-poverty goals; and to hold governments accountable for poverty inside and outside the courtroom.
  • Communities affected by poverty that have asserted their right to participate in decision-making have generated practical and cost-effective policy solutions.
  • Legal enforcement of socio-economic, civil and political rights has reduced poverty in some circumstances.
  • Governmental use of human rights is episodic but has brought benefits. Some governments have used human rights to bring coherence to – and permit prioritisation within – anti-poverty strategies and to set transparent targets.
  • Within the UK human rights and anti-poverty communities, some think that introducing socio-economic rights more visibly into UK public debate – and building the role of civil and political rights as an anti-poverty tool – may help shift negative perceptions of both human rights and poverty. However, some see human rights as politically ineffective.

The authors conclude that now is the right time to explore ways of strengthening the integration of human rights and anti-poverty strategies in the UK, especially where there is evidence of positive impact internationally. There is also potential to explore how human rights could be used to challenge regressive welfare reform and notions of personal responsibility that underpin it, as activists have done in the United States.

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Runnymede report on ethnicity and cash machines

In August 2009, the Runnymede Trust published ‘Who Pays to Access Cash? Ethnicity and Cash Machines’.

The report, by Omar Khan and Ludi Simpson, considers the relationship between ethnicity and cash machine location. It suggests that if people in areas without free cash machines always used their nearest fee-charging machine they would pay an extra £120 pounds per year in charges; BME people are more likely to live in these areas.

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EHRC Inquiry into Race Discrimination in the Construction Industry

In July 2009, the Equality and Human Rights Commission published the report of its Inquiry into Race Discrimination in the Construction Industry.

The Report highlights the persistence of the under-representation of non-white ethnic minority workers in the Industry, despite causes and potential solutions having been identified at least 10 years ago. It identifies that this poses challenges both for the Industry and the Commission. The Report also points out that significant examples of good practice exist in the Industry and that positive steps are being taken to tackle under-representation.

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