The UK government could soon make the list of human rights abusers with its “outright assault” on the rights of its own citizens and aggressive roll-back of protections such as on the right to assemble and protest.
This is according to the international NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW).
“The shrinking civic space is not relegated to countries far away,” said Tirana Hassan, the acting executive director of HRW. “When you come to the UK, you look at the very worrying trend we are seeing. A slew of legislation was passed last year where fundamental human rights are being challenged. The protest law is something we are deeply concerned about.”
Hassan said HRW had identified a “worrying trend” by the UK government of proposing laws that violate human rights and significantly weaken protections.
“When you talk about civic space and about people’s right to participate in a democratic society, the right to peaceful assembly and the right to protest are key pillars of that. We’ve seen an outright assault from this government on that.”
The UK government had a “very short window” to reverse some of its decisions, she said, before it joins “the countries listed as human rights abusers rather than human rights protectors”.
Yasmine Ahmed, the UK director at HRW, said 2022 “saw the most significant assault on human rights protections in the UK in decades”.
- The People’s Review of Prevent (Report, 2022)
- BBC: Suella Braverman to Crack Down on ‘Disruptive’ Protests with New Bill (News, 2022)
- The Rise and Restraint of the Preventative State (Journal Article, 2019)
- Freedom of Speech and Counter-Extremism: UK Joint Committee for Human Rights (Statements and Briefs, 2018)