Human rights

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on human rights. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

DateDescription
22.01.2016Iraq Historic Allegations Team
This Commons Library briefing paper describes the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT): when and why it was set up; its mandate, staff and methods; and its achievements. Its puts these in the context of other related investigations and recent publicity.
22.01.2016Commons Library analysis: Legal aid in England and Wales for civil claims against UK armed forces
Controversy surrounds the availability of legal aid, which (subject to the usual eligibility criteria) may be available in England and Wales for people outside the UK to make civil claims against UK armed forces.
22.01.2016A British Bill of Rights?
The Conservative Party went into the 2015 General Election with a manifesto commitment to 'scrap the Human Rights Act and curtail the role of the European Court of Human Rights.' This note provides a brief introduction to the Human Rights Act 1998; the European Convention on Human Rights and the work of the European Court of Human Rights.
13.01.2016The UN Inquiry into the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the UK
The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is conducting an inquiry into the impact of the UK Government's policies on people with disabilities in relation to their human rights obligations. This briefing paper provides information on the Committee, details of the inquiry and an overview of the Government's policies in relation to people with disabilities.
12.01.2016Prisoners' voting rights: developments since May 2015
This House of Commons Briefing Paper analyses the debate over the voting rights of prisoners since May 2015, it also includes a concise summary of the main developments before May 2015.
11.01.2016The UK National Security Council
The Commons Library has published a briefing paper on the UK National Security Council (NSC). Using a Q&A format, the briefing provides basic information about its origins, mandate and operation.
08.01.2016Bangladesh: January 2016 update
The Commons Library has published a briefing paper which looks at political and security developments in Bangladesh since the beginning of 2015. The ruling Awami League (AL) seems to be in the ascendancy, while its bitter rival, the Bangladesh National Party (BNP), is in apparent retreat.
23.12.2015UK cases at the European Court of Human Rights since 1975
This note gives brief details of UK cases at the European Court of Human Rights since 1975. Cases concluded by friendly settlement are included in this note, but Article 41 (previously Article 50) cases, which are concerned with determining 'just satisfaction', are not included.
30.11.2015Pakistan: November 2015 update
The Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) government, led by prime minister Nawaz Sharif, is now well into its third year in power. Its tenure has arguably seen a weakening of civilian authority, although there seems little prospect of a military coup. But the overall security situation within the country has improved markedly during 2015.
19.11.2015Draft Investigatory Powers Bill
The Draft Investigatory Powers Bill, published in November 2015, seeks to update and consolidate the legal framework governing the interception of communications and the acquisition of communications data by intelligence and law enforcement agencies

Lords Library Notes

DateDescription
23.11.2015Freedom of Speech in Higher Education Institutions
This Library Note has been prepared to support the debate in the House of Lords on the protection of freedom of speech in universities on 26 November 2015.
10.09.2015Treatment of LGBTI Citizens Worldwide
This Library Note has been written to support the House of Lords debate on the global treatment of LGBTI citizens.
10.07.2015The 'Responsibility to Protect' and the Application of this International Norm by the UK and the UN
This Library Note provides background information on the 'Responsibility to Protect' (R2P) concept; surveys instances in which the concept has been either invoked or considered by the UN Security Council; and summarises challenges to the concept and the position of the UK Government on the doctrine. It has been written to support the debate in the House of Lords on this subject scheduled to take place on 16 July 2015.
03.07.2015Reports into Investigatory Powers
This Note provides a summary of the recommendations of recent reports, including the report of David Anderson QC, and supporting material on the use of investigatory powers.
26.06.2015Human Rights and Civil Liberties in the United Kingdom
This Library Note draws on recent political developments to provide a concise background to ongoing discussions about human rights and civil liberties in the UK. It has been written to support the debate in the House of Lords on this subject on 2 July 2015.
21.07.2014Debate on 24 July 2014: International Compliance with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Concerning Freedom of Belief
This Library Note provides background reading for the debate. It briefly examines Article 18's status in international law, its role in promoting freedom of belief, and then presents sources which examine freedom of religion around the world.

POSTnotes

DateDescription
22.10.2015Automation in Military Operations
Automated technology is increasingly used in military activities such as intelligence gathering, navigation and weapons delivery. The most widespread use of automated technology to date has been remotely piloted air systems. However, each of the main military domains - air, land and sea - make use of automation. This POSTnote outlines current and potential future applications of automation in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and in combat. It then summarises debate over legal, ethical and societal issues, including debate over whether a pre-emptive ban is needed on future lethal autonomous weapons systems.
22.07.2014Big Data and Public Health
This POSTnote examines the sources of data, their current and potential uses for health improvement, and the legal and practical issues raised by data use for public health or research purposes.

Select Committee Reports

DateDescription
01.10.2011Legislative scrutiny: Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Bill - government response to the...
Government response. Home Office report [Commons]
14.09.2011FCO's human rights work 2010-11.
Government response. Foreign and Commonwealth Office report [Commons]
06.09.2011Terrorism Act 2000 (Remedial) Order 2011: stop and search without reasonable suspicion (second report)....
Human Rights Joint Select Committee report [Commons and Lords]
11.06.2011Legislative scrutiny: Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Bill; Armed Forces Bill.
Human Rights Joint Select Committee report [Commons and Lords]
07.06.2011Legislative scrutiny: Education Bill and other bills.
Human Rights Joint Select Committee report [Commons and Lords]

Early Day Motions

DateDescription
08.02.2012DETERIORATING HUMAN RIGHTS IN TIBET
That this House strongly condemns the Chinese security forces' unwarranted use of force including opening fire on unarmed demonstrators to quash peaceful protests in Tibet; is greatly ...
25.01.2012INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
That this House supports International Women's Day on 8 March 2012; celebrates the political, social and economic advancement of women while recognising the urgent need for further ...
11.01.2012HUMAN RIGHTS IN IRAN (No. 2)
That this House is concerned by the practice of execution by stoning in Iran; notes that stoning is a particularly repugnant and cruel form of execution; is concerned that stoning is ...
20.12.2011HUMAN RIGHTS IN KAZAKHSTAN
That this House is deeply concerned at reports of the killing of oil workers in Kazakhstan who have been protesting about their living conditions and the poverty of their region; condemns ...
20.12.2011GUANTÁNAMO BAY
That this House notes that on 11 January 2012 it will be a decade since the first detainees were incarcerated at Guantnamo Bay naval base; believes that Guantnamo detainees should either ...

Glossary

  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses