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  • Human Rights Research Center

UK Public Order Bill Violates Human Rights

April 28, 2023

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Volker Turk delivers a statement in Port-au-Prince, Haiti February 10, 2023. [Image credit: REUTERS/Ralph Tedy Erol]

Cited article by Reuters

HRRC urges the British government to reverse the passing of its Public Order Bill. The legislation infringes on the rights of British civilians, specifically targeting peaceful protestors and keeping them from assembling and expressing themselves on critical issues. Protestors should not be intimidated by police and threatened with arrest.

Article Summary

On April 26th, the UK passed troubling legislation that has impacts on human rights in the country. The Public Order Bill, which has been criticized by many civil rights groups, would grant police more rights to suppress protests and carry out arrests. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, urged the British government to reverse its decision on the bill, stating that it imposed restrictions on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly that are "neither necessary nor proportionate".

The government claims the powers are necessary to prevent disruption of the lives of the general public, and that this would only impact a small minority. However, the new legislation is not compatible with the UK's obligations under international human rights law. Turk also voiced concern that the restrictions on freedom of expression, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly would hinder peaceful protests surrounding issues of grave concern such as human rights and climate change.


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