In this report, we provide an overview of our work during the 2008-09 parliamentary session and draw attention to improvements to the human rights landscape in the UK which we have commended in our reports during the year.
We also mention a number of continuing areas for concern, including:
- allegations that the UK has been complicit in the torture of terrorism suspects overseas;
- the unravelling of the control orders framework following a succession of legal judgments;
- the UK's ranking as 24th out of 29 European countries in terms of children's well-being;
- lack of leadership from the Government in ensuring that public bodies promote human rights and in responding to court judgments which have narrowed the scope of the Human Rights Act; and
- the possibility that the Human Rights Act will become a political football during the next general election, preventing there from being serious debate about how human rights should best be protected and promoted.
We make a number of detailed points about parliamentary scrutiny of human rights issues before concluding that, whatever decisions are taken about the shape of the human rights framework in the UK, there should continue to be a dedicated human rights committee with an unflinching focus on whether human rights are being protected and promoted sufficiently in the UK.