On 23 and 24 February, the Global Justice Academy (GJA), Strathclyde Centre for the Study of Human Rights Law and Newcastle Forum for Human Rights and Social Justice, along with other partners in the Northern UK Human Rights Network, hosted a sandpit webinar on responding to the Ministry of Justice Human Rights Act Reform Consultation. The events brought together experts across public law, international law and human rights to offer concise insight on the key issues raised by the Ministry of Justice consultation on human rights reform.
Human rights experts’ preliminary views of the consultation paper are that the UK government aims to dismantle important human rights protections. The events were designed to assist individuals with different levels of engagement with human rights to distil the main legal tensions presented in the consultation paper and respond to the questions posed therein. The underpinning purpose is to assist those who have little time or experience responding to government consultations to develop their own responses by the consultation deadline of 8 March 2022.
- Ed Bates, Leicester University
- Helen Fenwick, Durham University
- Elisenda Casanas Adam, Univeristy of Edinburgh
- Hélène Tyrrell ,Newcastle University
- Conall Mallory, Newcastle University
- Lynsey Mitchell, University of Strathclyde
- Lewis Graham, Wadham College, Oxford University
- Dimitrios Kagiaros, Durham University
- Nicole Busby, University of Glasgow
- Elizabeth O’Loughlin, Durham University
- Douglas Jack, University of Strathclyde
- Alison Seaman, University of Edinburgh
The recording of day 2 can be found HERE.
If you would like to develop your own response using the working document developed by the speakers and other contributing colleagues, it can be accessed here: March 2022 – Consultation Response – Mod Bill of HR – Shareable. We encourage you to build on our work and add your own thoughts. In a democratic society it is essential that we use our voices to let the government know our views.
The Human Rights Act has protected the people of the UK for two decades. Use your voice to let the Ministry of Justice know that we will not give it up without a fight.
- Ministry of Justice, Human Rights Act Reform: A Modern Bill of Human Rights, consultation paper
- Independent Human Rights Act Review, Final Report
- Joint statement, Amnesty International Scotland, the Human Rights Consortium Scotland, JustRight Scotland, Making Rights Real, and the Scottish Human Rights Commission
- Scottish Government Response to consultation paper
In this guest post, Coline Constantin reflects on the recent seminar that tackled issues around incarceration in Scotland. Coline is reading for an LLM in Human Rights at Edinburgh Law School, and applied for funding for this event from the Global Justice and Global Development Academies’ Innovative Initiative Fund.
Scotland has the second highest imprisonment rate in Europe. Although English headlines for issues of overcrowding, under staffing, rising rates of self-harming cases do not find an echo north of the border, the statistic still makes it worth taking a closer look at its system. On Thursday 26 April, an engaged audience gathered at the University of Edinburgh to hear more about the positive developments and challenges of the Scottish system of detention.
Three panellists from different fields of expertise and different view angles on the Scottish situation were invited to cover topics from policy-making, to the implementation and analysis of these policies. Professor Richard Sparks, Convenor of Howard League Scotland and criminologist specialised on the different systems of detention in the UK, took us through his analysis of the particularities of the Scottish case within the UK and European context. Tom Halpin, Chief Executive of Sacro and prominent figure in the reduction of inequalities in the Scottish criminal justice system, gave us a sense of the work that is being done with communities and specific groups of people with convictions to go towards better mentoring and guidance throughout the process. Pete White, Chief Executive of Positive Prisons? Positive Future and fascinating storyteller, treated the audience with a story of his personal experience from his time inside and the aftermath of this life-changing event.
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Can the university be a space where academic freedom reigns while restrictions are increasingly threatening voices and lives outside its gates? Or must spaces for politics be opened up on and off campus in order to address the invasion of national security (and capitalist) logics into the realms of open enquiry? On 27 October 2016, scholars and activists engaged these questions with a focus on the variable effects of the securitisation of university space in Turkey, India and the UK.
A panel on Turkey included academics and students who have lost their jobs as a result of the broader crackdown on dissent following the failed coup in July. They highlighted the connections between increasing violence in the Kurdish regions of Turkey—which precipitated the “Academics for peace” petition that has been used as a pretext for dismissing many signatories from their posts—and the attempts of the state to impose controls on its critics. They asked if the focus on the plight of academics may mean that this violence recedes from the view of international publics. Efforts to maintain solidarity among those now outside the academy and those still within it, as well as initiatives to take the university outside spaces the government controls, provide hope for continued resistance in fearful times and carve out a more universal idea of the University as institution and spirit that always has had to be fought for and salvaged from strategies of subjection from various quarters, not only outside the University. In this way, this panel was inspiring for all university struggles, not just those related to Turkey.
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