Skip to main content
Amnesty International UK
Log in

The Human Rights Act Explained

What's happening?

The government are officially scrapping our Human Rights Act.

Announced in the Queen’s Speech on 10 May 2022, the UK government are planning to replace the Human Rights Act with a ‘Bill of Rights’. This ‘Bill’ will seriously weaken our own rights and only make things better for those in power.

It’ll also make it harder to hold other countries to account - at a time where it's needed more than ever.

We’ve already seen this power grab playing out. The recently passed Policing Bill will now make it harder to stand up to power. Now more than ever we need to come together in the fight to save our rights. 

“Scrapping the Human Rights Act has long been the intention of [the government] not because they want to extend any protections, but because they want to slash away at the powers people have got to challenge the government and its decisions,”
- Laura Trevelyan, Human Rights in the UK Campaigns Manager

The Human Rights Act is the most important weapon people have against the state and wrongful treatment, and we should all be very suspicious of the very people it holds to account telling us they are doing us a favour by watering it down.

What is the Human Rights Act?

The Human Rights Act brings home fundamental, universal rights we all have as human beings, and allows us to challenge authorities if they violate them.

If you’re lucky you won’t ever need to use it in a court. But it’s protecting you all the same.

It’s an invisible safety net for all of us, working quietly to ensure our rights are respected, and a crucial means of defence for the most vulnerable. 

Right now this vital protection is at risk. Attacked by some politicians, misreported by parts of the press and misunderstood by many – it’s time to spread the message that human rights matter.

Our hard-won rights

Over the centuries, British people have fought and died for the rights we enjoy today. 

From helping victims of domestic abuse to protecting confidential communications between lawyers and their clients – the Human Rights Act helps us to fight injustice and incompetence in the UK and hold those in power to account.

It’s been used by people in care homes, by children to make sure they are protected from abuse and harm when in the criminal justice system, by hospital patients facing homelessness after discharge, by survivors of sexual assault whose cases haven’t been properly investigated by the police, and by disabled people whose right to dignity has been violated.

We must not let politicians take away our rights at the stroke of a pen. Weakening the Human Rights Act would hurt all of us, but it’s the most vulnerable who would suffer most from the safety net being cut.

What can we do about this?

Protecting the Human Rights Act is essential. As the government's plans become more clear, we will be campaigning to help stop this raid on our rights and protect our fundamental freedoms.

We'll need all the help that we can get, and right now, not everyone knows how important the Human Rights Act is. Will you help by sharing this breakdown of the Human Rights Act with your networks?