Each year, the Executive Committee decides on its strategic priorities for the upcoming year in line with its objectives and current work.
Our current priorities include:
- China, Hong Kong and Central Asia
- South Asia
- The right to peaceful protest;
- The right to a fair trial (through the work of the trial observation unit);
- Supporting and protecting practising lawyers, judges and human rights defenders.
BHRC continues to work on other areas and countries in which it has been operating, and new areas in response to developing crises.
Recent work includes:
The Persecution of Uyghurs and Turkic Muslims in China
It is estimated that over 1 million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims are being detained in “political education camps”, with millions more subject to restrictions on their liberty. It has been reported that individuals in those camps have been subjected to forced political indoctrination, renunciation of their faith, mistreatment and torture. There are further concerns that lawyers in China are being systematically prevented – by arrest, prosecution for sedition and disbarment – from challenging such unlawful acts.
In July 2020, BHRC’s legal task force on this issue published a new report outlining the responsibility of States under international law to Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang, China. Work is ongoing to urge all States to implement its recommendations.
Defending the Rule of Law in Hong Kong
In March 2019, significant protests erupted in Hong Kong following the introduction of proposed amendments to change Hong Kong’s extradition law. Since then the situation has deteriorated with the unilateral introduction of the new national security law which demonstrates a chilling contempt for the principles, fundamental rights and freedoms which are underlined by the Basic Law and the “One Country, Two Systems” framework in Hong Kong.
BHRC has joined calls for the urgent establishment of a UN mechanism on China, which would be responsible for monitoring and reporting on human rights matters arising from Xinjiang and Tibet to Hong Kong.
Human Rights Training in Kazakhstan
BHRC has delivered training to lawyers in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on bringing international human rights law training into domestic practice. As part of the project BHRC produced bespoke training materials in English and Russian, and there are plans in place to roll out the training across other regions of the country. The training was delivered in partnership with the British Embassy Nur-Sultan.
Addressing the Human Rights and Rule of Law Crisis in Turkey
BHRC has a long history of working in Turkey and continues to do a significant amount of work to address the human rights and rule of law crisis in connection with the aftermath of the attempted coup in 2016. This work falls in two areas: defending freedom of expression and the protection of journalists, and the persecution of judges and lawyers in Turkey.
Fair Trial Standards in Guantanamo Bay
BHRC has worked historically on the human rights issues connected with Guantanamo Bay, including submitting an amicus curiae brief in October 2018 regarding international standards on the right to freedom from torture and the inadmissibility of torture derived evidence.
In 2019, BHRC won approval to be part of the international legal observer panels for Guantanamo Bay, and began sending observers in early 2020.
Partnership with the Nigerian Bar Association
BHRC has an ongoing partnership with the Nigerian Bar Association, supported by ROLE-UK, to deliver international human rights law training to lawyers across Nigeria. In 2020 BHRC will deliver training on fair trial standards and undertaking trial observations, with plans to deliver further training into 2021.
Previous work includes:
Child Rights Training in Nigeria
In partnership with UNICEF Nigeria, BHRC developed a programme to develop the capacity of the Child Protection Networks (CPNs) in Nigeria in 2016, with a focus on building practical skills in human rights monitoring and case management.
Tracking Expression in Zimbabwe
In partnership with the John Smith Memorial Trust, BHRC conducted a series of plenary sessions and workshops in Harare and Bulawayo in March 2012, focusing on human rights monitoring and reporting during the electoral process.
Public Interest Case Support in Malawi and Tanzania
The Public Interest Casework Support Project, established in 2011, provided pro bono casework support and assistance for lawyers and human rights organisations in Malawi and Tanzania
Auditing the Rule of Law in Mexico
In November 2009, a high-level delegation facilitated and led by the BHRC visited the Mexican states of Guerrero and Oaxaca to carry out an independent and impartial investigation into the rule of law.
Access to Justice in Afghanistan
The Access to Justice Project in Afghanistan aimed to promote the dissemination of legal skills and knowledge to key actors in the legal sector by providing materials and legal training between 2005-2007.
Death Row Pro Bono in Jamaica
Prior to 2006 BHRC sent junior barrister volunteers to Kingston to support Jamaican lawyers undertaking death row cases at first instance and on appeal.