If acknowledged, the EHRC will lose participation rights at the UN and GANHRI meetings
BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGE BY THE GENDER SPECTRUM COLLECTION/ZACHARY DRUCKER
Supported by The Good Law Project, LGBTQI organisation Stonewall has submitted documents to both the United Nation and the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions calling for an urgent review into the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s status as an A-grade accredited human rights organisation. This follows revelations that the EHRC has been infiltrated by overtly anti-trans groups, condemned by Stonewall, Liberty and Amnesty International alongside Steph’s Place and Trans Media Watch.
Critically, the EHRC’s recent statements on upcoming LGBTQI legislation including Scotland’s reform of the Gender Recognition Act and the UK Government’s upcoming conversion therapy ban starkly contrast international human rights law. Stonewall in particular have highlighted that this threatens the safety of trans people in the UK. Arguing that the EHRC is now a politicised institution driving forth the agenda of the UK Government rather than furthering and protecting human rights, Stonewall’s submission cites ‘excessive’ governmental interference including ‘politically motivated’ appointments to the Chair and Board.
Furthermore, the EHRC’s handling of upcoming LGBTQI legislative issues with regards to gender recognition and self-ID symbolises its dealignment with human rights laws. If the EHRC had its status as a National Human Rights Organisation downgraded, it would lose participation rights at the UN Human Rights Council alongside its ability to vote at GANHRI meetings.
Nancy Kelley, CEO of Stonewall, (she/her) states: “All of us need our human rights to be upheld and protected- this is a fundamental value that rises above the politics of the day. That is why the UN has mechanisms in place to ensure that national human rights institutions can operate independently of the changing priorities of any government. We believe that there is credible evidence that the EHRC no longer meets this criteria, and that its current status as an ‘A’ listed international human rights institution should be reviewed as a matter of urgency”.
“The politicisation of the UK’s human rights body has placed trans people in the firing line, but this attempt to create a hierarchy of human rights in the UK is a very real threat to everyone, particularly those of us protected by the Equality Act. We call on the UK Government to show leadership by ensuring we have a revived and truly independent EHRC that is fit for purpose”, she concludes.
Jolyon Maugham, Director of the Good Law Project, (he/him) furthers: “The EHRC is subject to a level of oversight and micro-management from the Department which is just not consistent with being a UN Human Rights Institution. They are supposed to be independent from Government but the EHRC looks much more like a tool of Government”.
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