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In advance of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the UK, we and Project 17 have made a joint submission to the UN Human Rights Council.

Key points from our submission

To meet its international human rights obligations, the UK Government must:

  • Ensure that nothing is done that in anyway undermines the Human Rights Act or the way in which it functions.
  • Ensure that human rights and equality standards are built upon and increased, rather than regressed as we chart our future outside of the European Union.
  • Ensure that as we emerge from the pandemic, we build a fairer society by:
    • Ending the ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ policy to ensure that everyone can claim public funds (social security and housing assistance), when they need to, and
    • Considering further measures that it could implement to better realise socio-economic rights, particularly in the context of the current cost of living crisis. As a starting point we would call upon the UK Government to reverse the cut to Universal Credit.

In our joint submission we examined overarching issues that threaten our rights in the UK, such as attempts to undermine the Human Rights Act, our post-Brexit and post-pandemic trajectory and the cost of living crisis. We also proposed pragmatic ways in which the impact of these could be lessened or completely ameliorated.

We asked the UK Government to:

  • Stop plans to undermine the Human Rights Act
  • Commence Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010 (the socio-economic duty)
  • Implement best-quality single equality legislation in Northern Ireland
  • Bring our rights in international treaties into domestic UK legislation
  • Allow individuals to bring complaints about violations of their rights directly to the UN, by ratifying the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

We also focused on one very specific issue, because we believe that it has particularly grave impacts on people’s ability to enjoy their economic, social and cultural rights – the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) condition. We highlighted NRPF’s disproportionate impact on people with protected characteristics and called for an end to the condition.

The UN Human rights Committee will read this report, which will inform its preparation for the review of the UK in November.