Why it’s as important as it’s ever been to stand up to power

Posted by Corey Stoughton on 05 November 2018

Many of us will be glued to news from across the pond this week, as the US midterms play out.

But this is a good week for us all to look frankly at the state of rights, fairness and equality in the UK, too.

This Friday, the Human Rights Act turns 20. For two decades, it's been the legal tool that's let ordinary people stand up to power and defend their rights in UK courts.

The Human Rights Act has come to the rescue of the free press by protecting sources and investigative journalism – from the Sun to the Guardian. It's defended our protest rights, free speech and freedom of religion over and over again.

Because the Human Rights Act requires public bodies to actively protect our rights, not just avoid violating them, it's forced them to up their game to prevent the injustices of bad-faith and arbitrary bureaucratic exercises of power.

For the first time, there's a legal requirement on police to properly investigate serious crimes like sexual violence and slavery. Thanks to two brave women who used the Act to challenge the Metropolitan Police's devastating failures in investigating John Worboys' crimes, women and girls can finally expect to be taken seriously and have their reports investigated.

And it's delivered justice and truth for families – from Hillsborough to Deepcut – who had been robbed of answers by those in power for far too long.

So this is an anniversary worth celebrating. Which is why we're giving away 5,000 new pocket-sized guides to the Human Rights Act for FREE! Get yours before they run out and make sure you know your rights.

Fight that's never done

If you've read our blogs before, you might notice this one looks a bit different. This week we're also launching Liberty's new logo, inspired by our bold, timeless campaigning materials from the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

Our look might have changed, but our aims remain constant. They're the same as they’ve been since 1934 – to challenge injustice, intolerance and abuse of power, defend freedom and make the UK a fairer, more equal place.

The fight for a fair society is far from over. Fast-paced political and technological changes mean we’re facing serious new threats to our rights.

Our founders couldn't have imagined that – 84 years on – we'd have gone from defending hunger marchers' protest rights to challenging mass surveillance, facial recognition and algorithmic decision-making. (Well, maybe founding member HG Wells had an inkling...).

But those original threats to liberty are rearing their heads again, too.

In the 30s, Liberty campaigned against fascism. In the 60s and 70s, we opposed a string of immigration laws that played to popular racist sentiment by stripping Commonwealth citizens of their rights.

Now we're working to dismantle this Government's hostile environment policies, which have sown discrimination, fear and suffering across society.

Liberty has famously campaigned against internment and detention without charge many times in our history.

Now we're fighting for an urgent end to the Home Office indefinitely detaining thousands of people every year in immigration removal centres around the UK.

One look at the news tells us that standing up to power – working together to challenge injustice and make things better – is as important now as it's ever been.

Our first president EM Forster called Liberty’s work ‘the fight that is never done’. Thank you to all our members and supporters for keeping that fight going.

If you'd like to play your part in Liberty's work, receive our welcome pack, campaign updates and regular member magazine and have a say in our future at our annual members' conference, join today.

Corey Stoughton Liberty

Corey Stoughton

Advocacy Director