A needless step backwards for the UK - Liberty's response to the EU Withdrawal Bill votes

13 June 2018

Tonight MPs voted to remove a number of Lord amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill which sought to preserve human rights protections after the UK leaves the European Union and to secure stronger limits on ministers' powers. 

Director of Liberty Martha Spurrier said:

"Hundreds of MPs put protecting the Prime Minister ahead of protecting their constituents’ rights tonight. As a result, ordinary people will now have fewer legal tools to fight back when Parliament puts the interests of the powerful ahead of equality, fairness and human dignity.

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Cardiff resident launches first UK legal challenge to police use of facial recognition technology in public spaces

13 June 2018

A Cardiff resident has today launched the first legal challenge to a UK police force’s use of automated facial recognition (AFR) technology. He believes he was scanned by South Wales Police at a peaceful anti-arms protest and while doing his Christmas shopping.

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EU Withdrawal Bill: MPs must rise above party politics and vote for human rights

Tomorrow MPs will vote on the EU Withdrawal Bill – their last chance to make sure their constituents don’t end up with fewer rights after Brexit.

They have a choice. They can overturn changes made by the Lords in April – or they can enshrine these changes in law, making sure we bring home all the rights and equality protections we gained from the European Union.  

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Safety, security and support – transforming the response to domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is one of the UK’s most pressing and devastating human rights issues.

It’s estimated that more than 1.9 million adults experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2017, of whom 1.2 million were female.

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Brexit negotiations and human rights

David Davis MP, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and Michel Barnier, European Chief Negotiator for the United Kingdom Exiting the European Union shaking hands

David Davis MP, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and Michel Barnier, European Chief Negotiator for the United Kingdom Exiting the European Union

Liberty's three key principles for the negotiating process

Whether you voted leave or remain, no one voted for fewer rights after Brexit.

As the United Kingdom and European Union negotiate their future relationship, both sides need to commit to protecting our hard-won fundamental rights and freedoms – rights that protect each and every one of us.

To make sure no one is left with less protection after Brexit than before it, Liberty is calling for both sides to commit to these three key principles during the negotiating process:

1. UK must remain member of both Council of Europe and European Convention on Human Rights

The ‘Withdrawal Agreement’ drawn up by the UK and the EU – and any extra treaties that are made – must require the UK to remain a member of both the Council of Europe and the European Convention on Human Rights.

2. Fundamental rights in Withdrawal Agreement must be written into UK law

Fundamental rights included in the Withdrawal Agreement and any extra treaties must be written into UK law so people can enforce and rely on them in courts here at home, as well as those of any country in the EU.

3. EU Charter of Fundamental Rights must continue to apply to any EU law we keep after Brexit

The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights must continue to apply to any EU law we keep after Brexit. Right now the Charter makes sure those laws respect our rights. So where the Withdrawal Agreement and any extra treaties cover EU laws we are holding onto, the Charter must still apply to them to ensure they properly protect our rights after we’ve left the European Union too.

Liberty will be working tirelessly throughout the negotiating process to make sure all those involved uphold these simple principles and protect our rights every step of the way.

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Royal Wedding: your protest rights

For many, Saturday’s Royal Wedding will be a chance to celebrate the happy couple – but others will want to use the opportunity to voice their opposition to the continued existence of the monarchy.

Whatever side of the debate you fall on, we should all agree that it’s important to be able to celebrate or protest peacefully and lawfully.

The last Royal Wedding between William and Kate in 2011 saw the police use oppressive tactics to crack down on protesters – even arresting people they knew had no intention of committing any crime.

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Campaigners and MPs demand urgent reform as child sexual abuse victims are refused compensation

17 April 2018

Liberty, Barnardo’s, Victim Support, Rape Crisis, National Working Group, Labour MP Sarah Champion and Conservative MP Iain Stewart have written to Justice Secretary David Gauke demanding an urgent overhaul of the scheme governing compensation for victims of crime.

The Ministry of Justice has a statutory duty to compensate blameless victims of violent crime through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS).

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Brexit: the final countdown

With exactly a year until Brexit and negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the European Union starting to heat up, we’re looking ahead to the Withdrawal Agreement. This is the divorce settlement, determining who gets what and how – for the sake of the kids – each party should behave in the future.

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Ali Smith's Liberty Lecture

Download and listen to author Ali Smith's inaugural Liberty Lecture, recorded at Senate House in London in November 2017.

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Our soldiers deserve first-rate justice

The UK has two separate justice systems – one for soldiers, and one for the rest of us. Yesterday, an important criminal case being heard in the court martial – kept out of the public eye by reporting restrictions until now – collapsed. And it exposes everything that’s wrong with this second class system.

This was a criminal trial involving allegations that a number training instructors at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate had committed very serious assaults on children who had signed up as junior recruits.

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