Skip to main content

COVID-19 response scrutinised to ensure human rights are upheld

19 March 2020

The Government will need to take unprecedented powers to keep us safe in the coronavirus epidemic. However, they will also be need to take into account the implications for a whole range of Human Rights issues; from our right to life through to the right to demonstrate, freedom of belief, the right not to be discriminated against, the right to family life and more. As such, the Joint Committee on Human Rights has important work to do at this time.  

Purpose of the inquiry

Today the Joint Committee on Human Rights has announced that it will scrutinise the Government’s COVID-19 response. This includes any legislation that the Government brings forward to contain and control the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as how those measures are then implemented, and how the response could be differently affecting different groups of people. 

The Committee has published a briefing paper which sets out;

  • the human rights implications of the outbreak and of the different sorts of measures that the government might be implementing in response; and
  • the legislative provision that already exists

Chair's comment

The Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Harriet Harman MP, said:

"Times of national crisis call for strong and decisive leadership. However, at this time, it is also vitally important that checks and balances are in place to ensure that human rights are not disregarded, and that people remain fully protected under the law.

The Committee will be thoroughly scrutinising the measures taken and any proposed legislation. The government needs to protect the right to life and at the same time consider the impact on human rights as it strives to protect the country in this unprecedented time."

Send us your views

The Joint Committee on Human Rights has also called for evidence to be submitted to it including on:

  • What steps need to be taken to ensure that measures taken by the Government to address the COVID-19 pandemic are human rights compliant?
  • What will the impact of specific measure taken by Government to address the COVID-19 pandemic be on human rights in the UK?
  • Which groups will be disproportionately affected by measures taken by the Government to address COVID-19 pandemic?

Please send submissions of no more than 1,500 words through the written submission portal.

Further information

Image: Pixabay - published under Creative Commons License