Guidance on addressing human rights during the pandemic

Bec Horner

Bec Horner

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Guidance on addressing human rights during the pandemic

York Human Rights Network got in touch to ask us to spread the word about a fact sheet they have produced on coronavirus and human rights and to ask your views on human rights concerns at the moment. Here’s what they had to say: 

We produced a Fact Sheet on ‘Coronavirus and Human Rights’ for local government and statutory agencies – notably the City of York Council, the NHS, the police – and community and voluntary groups.  It offers guidance on addressing human rights when making the difficult policy decisions required by the pandemic and some frameworks to support advocacy and the monitoring of policy as it impacts on individuals, families and communities and/or on issues of concern e.g. mental health, disability, refugees.

In addition, we are keen to gather evidence from as many parts of our community as we can for the initiative described below. 

York Human Rights City Network plans to respond to the recently announced invitation to submit evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights Inquiry into the impact of the Government’s COVID-19 legislation – see here  https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/93/human-rights-joint-committee/news/145641/covid19-response-to-ensure-human-rights-are-upheld

We would like to know:

• How have you as an individual, or members of your community, or users of your service been affected by the steps taken by Government?

• How well do you think that human rights are being respected during the COVID-19 response here in York?

• Is there anything more that you believe should be done to ensure that your human rights, those of your community, and/or those of your service users, are being protected here in York during the pandemic?

Whilst we all recognise that the government has had to take unprecedented powers to keep us safe during the coronavirus epidemic, you may have heard that several national organisations are deeply concerned about the potential impact of the new legislation on people in a vulnerable situation.  There is a good briefing from the British Institute of Human Rights on this at  https://www.bihr.org.uk/coronavirusbill-20march.  The concern is in particular for people with:

•Care needs (disabled and older adults and carers)

•Complex health needs

•Mental health issues

•Children with special educational needs

•Asylum seekers and migrants with irregular status needing health care.

•Women suffering from domestic abuse.

•Homeless people

•People with inadequate resources.

It is likely that there will be other consequences of the crisis not yet identified. 

We would like to document your experiences and views, so that we can contribute York’s experience to this important national review.

We want to make it easy for you to contribute so we are inviting you to EITHER complete our survey here – https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/9H7YPDP OR email us with your comments OR take part in a telephone interview.  You can contact us on mailto:info@yorkhumanrights.org?subject=JCHR%20submission%20-%20evidence%20gatheringThe closing date for responses is the end of May 2020. In the response we may list the organisations that have submitted but not the individuals.

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