Human dignity requires a legal framework
Quakers in Britain have joined people from other faith and belief bodies in appealing to the prime minister to protect the Human Rights Act.
In January 2021, the government instigated an independent review of the UK's Human Rights Act. This will be reporting at the end of June.
In a letter to the prime minister, the signatories say they share a common value that human beings are imbued with inherent dignity, which is protected by human rights. They say the Human Rights Act has safeguarded freedoms of thought, of religion, of belief, which must not be diluted.
Oliver Robertson, Head of Witness and Worship for Quakers in Britain, said “At their core, human rights are about how we treat people. They recognise there are some things people are entitled to just because they're human, and that there are some things it is never okay to do to people."
The full text of the letter follows:
Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP
Prime Minister & First Lord of the Treasury
Dear Prime Minister,
We write from many different religious and belief organisations in the UK to make a joint appeal to protect the Human Rights Act.
We believe different things about the world, our place in it, and how we should live. But what we all hold in common is that human beings are imbued with inherent dignity which is protected by human rights.
The European Convention on Human Rights, on which the Human Rights Act is based, was Europe's response to the horror of the Holocaust. The Act has safeguarded our freedoms, including our freedom of thought, of belief, and of religion. It has allowed us to marry and conduct funerals in line with our understandings of the world, letting us live in accordance with our beliefs.
What we all hold in common is that human beings are imbued with inherent dignity which is protected by human rights.- Letter to Prime Minister
We do not want to see those freedoms diluted or see any measures taken to make it more difficult for people to access their rights. To do that would deprive people of what should be enjoyed by all. The human dignity that we all recognise needs a legal framework to protect it.
Any move to weaken the Human Rights Act risks undermining the basis of all of our freedom, and would be a marker on a very slippery slope. For a United Kingdom based on decency, dignity and respect, we must keep our Human Rights Act as it is.
David Walker, Bishop of Manchester,
Church of England
Mia Hasenson-Gross, Executive Director,
René Cassin – the Jewish Voice for Human
Andrew Copson, Chief Executive,
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Chair,
British Muslims for Secular Democracy
Lord Indarjit Singh OBE, Director,
Network of Sikh Organisations
Robert Harrap, General Director,
Soka Gakkai International, UK
Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director,
The Jewish Council for Racial Equality
Robert Wiltshire, Chair,
Movement for Reform Judaism
Rabbi Mark L. Solomon, Chair,
Beit Din of Liberal Judaism
Kira Blumer, CEO,
Paul Parker, Recording Clerk,
Quakers in Britain
Very Rev Dr Susan Brown, Convener of the
Faith Impact Forum,
The Church of Scotland
Rt Revd Dr Joanna Penberthy,
Bishop of St Davids, Church in Wales
Fraser Sutherland, Chief Executive,
Humanist Society Scotland
Anita Peleg, Chair of Trustees,
Generation 2 Generation
Dharmachari Guhyapati, Director,
Canon Mark Oakley, Dean,
St John's College, Cambridge
Social Justice Group, Manchester and
Greater Manchester Humanists
Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers
Revd Naomi Oates
Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild
The Very Revd Jerry Lepine
Rev Margaret Crawshaw,
Rev Hilary A Jowett
Rev Canon Nicholas P A Jowett
Rev Julia M Binney
Rev James Binney
Rev Judith Wheatley
Rabbi Dr Michael Hilton
Rabbi Anna Posner
Sister Alicia Perez
Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah
Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris
Rabbi Aaron Goldstein
Rabbi Charley Baginsky
Rabbi Fabian Sborovsky
Rabbi Warren Elf MBE
Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen
Rabbi Sybil Sheridan
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg
Rabbi Margaret Jacobi
Anne and Michael Sheehan
Dr Chris Jary