The Ministry of Justice published an ‘Easy Read’ and an audio version of the Human Rights consultation this week, after campaigners urged the Government to publish accessible versions.
Learning Disability England, along with 200 people and organisations, wrote to the Government on 3rd March calling on the Government to extend the Human Rights consultation deadline to make sure people with learning disabilities can contribute to the consultation. It has now been extended by six weeks for those that ask for it.
The consultation was open until 8th March 2022, with an extension available for those requiring ‘Easy Read’ or audio versions until 19th April 2022.
According to the Law Society, the consultation is seeking views on a wide range of topics, including:
- The duties on courts to take account of case law from the European Court of Human Rights and to interpret legislation compatibly with Convention rights.
- Extending the use of declarations of incompatibility to secondary legislation and introducing suspended and prospective quashing orders in human rights claims.
- Introducing a permission stage for human rights claims.
- When public authorities are held accountable for human rights violations.
- Restricting when human rights apply in deportation cases.
- How rights are balanced against each other, such as freedom of expression and privacy.
- Extraterritorial application of human rights
The Ministry of Justice said people using the Easy Read or audio version can ask for the extension.
Organisations who greatly represent the interests of those with needs for an Easy Read/audio version and would need such a version to respond can also request an extension.
Learning Disability England has asked for an extension as a membership organisation.
Campaigners stated that ‘we should all have an equal chance to tell the Ministry of Justice what we think about the changes they want to make to our rights’ and said that the Government should have waited in publishing the document until they had an ‘Easy Read’ version. On the 24th February, the Government published what it believed to be an ‘Easy Read’ version, only to face criticism by campaigners.
Prior to the deadline extension, individuals with learning disabilities had just 12 days to understand the questions and to tell the Government what they think about changes to human rights.
The Ministry of Justice has also said it will be holding extra roundtable discussions for disability groups and interested organisations in the next few weeks. Learning Disability England will share information about this as soon it knows more.
Care settings inquiry
The Joint Committee on Human Rights continued its inquiry into protecting human rights in care settings on Wednesday 9th March when it took evidence from witnesses representing the National Care Association, National Care Forum, the British Institute of Human Rights, Essex Autonomy Project and Access Social Care.
The first panel focussed on the issue of personal autonomy and enforcement of human rights. examined how care users and relatives are involved in deciding their care and treatment, particularly for individuals who may lack capacity to make decisions. It also investigated current mechanisms for seeking redress when human rights have been breached, including the role of the Care Quality Commission.
The second panel heard the perspectives from representatives of care providers on their approach to respecting the human rights of those under their care. This included how care homes have dealt with visiting restrictions during the pandemic and how staff can be trained to ensure that the human rights of care users are protected.
Catch up on the Parliament Committee session here.
In other news, Carers UK has strongly welcomed the news that Peers have successfully won an amendment against the Government’s attempt to revoke the Community Care Act 2003, in the Health and Care Bill during its report stage in the Lords.