Submission to the Human Rights Council Draws Attention to UK Failures on Torture and lll-Treatment
REDRESS has made a submission to the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group, focusing on the UK’s performance on issues relating to torture and ill-treatment.
Some of the key points covered in the submission are as follows:
- The UK legal framework: the submission argues that the proposed ‘Bill of Rights’ (intended to replace the Human Rights Act 1998) includes reforms that will impede access to effective remedies for victims of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (CIDTP).
- Effective prevention and legal enforcement: the submission argues that the UK has not made sufficient progress in relation to the failure to prosecute allegations of torture (1) under universal jurisdiction laws, or (2) by the UK Armed Forces overseas. Additionally, concerns persist regarding the use by police of equipment carrying risks in respect of the prevention of torture and CIDTP.
- Immigration and asylum: the submission points to the significant proportion of asylum denials overturned on appeal (relevant to the UK’s non-refoulment obligation under Article 3 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture) and the failure to adhere to international standards for detainee’s rights and conditions in immigration detention, including tackling the increase in self-harm and suicide in prisons. The submission also draws attention to the proposed Nationality and Borders Bill that would deprive those in need of protection from their most basic rights, and risk violations of the prohibition of torture and CIDTP.
- Treatment of women and girls, and LGBTIQ+ rights (domestic abuse): the submission highlights the rise in cases of domestic abuse, but the lack of a corresponding increase in arrest numbers, and the decrease in charging rates for domestic abuse-related crimes (which further worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic). The submission also points to the significant increase in domestic abuse experienced by LGBTIQ+ individuals.
REDRESS has made a number of recommendations in the submission in relation to these topics which it hopes will be adopted as part of the UPR process.
This submission is part of the Human Rights Council’s review of the UK as part of the Fourth Cycle of the UPR, to be held in October and November 2022.
Photo credit: David Rose/Panos Pictures.