British public overwhelmingly support Human Rights

10 December 2008

However, only 13% remember ever seeing or receiving any information from the Government explaining the legislation.

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty said:

“Two days after the Lord Chancellor grabbed the headlines with his trashing of the Human Rights Act, this poll shows that Britain values its hard won rights and freedoms rather more than he thinks.

Of course fundamental freedoms belong to people not Governments, but it should still be a cause for embarrassment that our leaders have done so little to inform us about our rights.”

Liberty’s ComRes polling also revealed strong support for the various individual rights contained in the Act:

● 89% identified the right not to be tortured or degraded as either vital or important. Only 6% thought it was unnecessary.

● 95% identified both respect for privacy, family life and the home and the right to a fair trial as either vital or important. Only 1% thought it was unnecessary.

● 90% believed that freedom of speech, protest and association was either vital or important. Only 1% thought it was unnecessary.

Contact: Liberty Press Office on 0207 378 3677 or 0797 3 831 128


1. The ComRes poll was conducted November 28 – 30 2008. 

2. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed on 10 December 1948. The principles of the UDHR were then embodied in European Convention of Human Rights with support from Winston Churchill’s Government and more recently in the Human Rights Act in 1998.

3. The Lord High Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw, was interviewed in the Daily Mail on 8 December 2008. In the interview he said he had become frustrated with the way the Human Rights Act was being interpreted.