This week’s headlines have been confusing and worrying. The signal which the government seems to be sending to the public on the subject of commitment to ECHR and human rights in British life is a cause for concern - especially for an advocacy charity like ourselves.

POhWER has already noted worrying easements of the Care Act and the easing of Mental Capacity Act provisions since the start of this pandemic, through the Coronavirus Act. So, we are alert for warning signs of further change or intention and believe this could be one.

Firstly, the articles written on this subject this week have focused solely on immigration and asylum seekers - failing to mention the way human rights impact the average British person every day in public services. This disconnects the reader from the issue. Suddenly, the potential change only impacts foreigners seeking refuge rather than our mother, our friend or our neighbour. Human Rights are for everyone to enjoy in British society.

It is also crucial to differentiate between the ECHR, Human Rights Act (HRA) and Brexit negotiations. The HRA was formed in 1998 as domestic legislation following the creation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in 1950, after the tragedies of WW2 occurred. Other important domestic legislation that sits under the broader Human Rights umbrella includes the Mental Health Act, Mental Capacity Act and Care Act.

Without the HRA, public bodies such as the NHS and Local Authorities would not be obliged to carry out rights-based obligations, such as safeguarding, right-to-life, decisions about administering care, right to be free from inhuman treatment such as neglect, and the right to enjoy rights without discrimination.

It wasn’t until decades later, in 1993, that the modern-day structure of the European Union was formed. The United Kingdom (with Gibraltar) originally joined the European Communities in 1973.

What on earth does the HRA have to do with Brexit? Is the government signalling an early intention to cherry pick the human rights law it likes?

We are urging the public to notice this and speak out openly about the importance of preserving human rights in British day to day life. I remain concerned about what this will mean for the millions of people who access public services every day.