EHRC report on ‘Public perceptions of human rights’

The EHRC logo.

In June 2009, the Equality and Human Rights Commission published Public perceptions of human rights. The study investigated how the public perceive human rights.

Quantitative summary

  • The values people hold most dear in terms of living in Britain are: being treated with dignity and respect, having freedom of expression, and being treated fairly.
  • There is a close alignment between the values that people think are important for society and those which people identify as being fundamental human rights.
  • Two-thirds of people feel that human rights are meaningful to them in everyday life.
  • There is strong support for a law to protect Human Rights in Britain. In particular, people endorse human rights in governing the way that public services treat people and for creating a fairer society. Perhaps this is because this enables them to connect human rights to their everyday lives and life outcomes.

However, there is a lack of detailed understanding of human rights and the legislation which surrounds these.

Qualitative summary

Opinions in the deliberative research support the findings from the survey overall:

  • Key values described as core to British life were similar to the top-scoring values in the quantitative survey; respect, family, law and order, and equality.
  • When asked to generate ‘The most important rights’, participants felt these were education, health, free speech and equality.
  • During the discussion, the numbers of participants valuing equality increased slightly, showing perhaps that views on values and rights are amenable to change with the right stimulus.
  • However, public terms for discussing these values and rights were not necessarily identical to human rights terminology and for some people there was confusion around what human rights were.
  • Human rights were considered to be important by the vast majority at the start of discussions; they were felt to be slightly more important across the groups after each right was discussed in detail.

EHRC Equality Measurement Framework

The Equality and Human Rights Commission launched the Equality Measurement Framework (EMF) on 23 July 2009.

The Framework will be used to assess equality and human rights across a range of domains relevant to 21st century life. These domains focus directly on those things in life that people say are important for them to actually do and be. The framework monitors the central and valuable things in life that people actually achieve – such as enjoying an adequate standard of living, being healthy, having good opportunities for education and learning, enjoying legal security, and being free from crime and the fear of crime. It is particularly concerned with the position of individuals and groups with regard to characteristics such as age, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion or belief, sexual orientation, transgender and social class.

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‘The MacPherson Report – Ten Years On’

The Home Affairs Committee published ‘The Macpherson Report – Ten Years On’ on 22 July 2009.

The report found general recognition that the police service had made progress towards tackling racial prejudice and discrimination since 1999. However, there remain a number of areas in which the police service continues to fail ethnic minorities, including issues relating to the disproportionality of black people in the criminal justice system.

Click here for link to pdf

Click here for link to HTML version

Equality and Diversity Forum conference on the Equality Bill

On 16 July 2009, the Equality and Diversity Forum held a conference asking ‘What does the Equality Bill mean to you?’

The Solicitor General, Vera Baird QC MP gave the keynote speech and stayed for questions and discussion.

Speakers included:

  • Sarah Veale, TUC
  • Barbara Cohen (click here for presentation)
  • Nicola Dandridge, Equality Challenge Unit (click here for presentation)
  • Clare Cozens, Equality and Human Rights commission (click here for presentation)
  • Loraine Martins, Olympic Delivery Authority (click here for presentation)
  • Amanda Ariss, Chief Executive Officer, Equality and Diversity Forum (click here for presentation)

The conference was attended by approximately 75 participants from local authorities and other statutory bodies, voluntary organisations, trade unions and elsewhere.

Click here for conference agenda

APPG Equalities meeting on the continuing impact of the recession

On 15 July 2009, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Equalities held a meeting to discuss the continuing impact of the recession.

Participants heard presentations from Andrea Murray (Acting Group Director of Strategy at the Equality and Human Rights Commission), Kayte Lawton (Research Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research) and Patrick Grattan (Secretary of the Equality and Diversity Forum).

Click here for notes of meeting