BHRC's Strategic Priorities

And how we address them through our international advocacy and outreach

BHRC focuses on four key and ongoing objectives reflecting its strategic priorities

Upholding the rule of law and internationally recognised human rights norms and standards, with particular focus on the right to peaceful protest, which has come under acute strain, and on atrocity crimes.

and supporting practising lawyers, judges, and human rights defenders, with particular focus on the shrinking space for civil society.

Promoting knowledge and interest in human rights law and practice through training programmes, workshops and events, which have been almost entirely conducted remotely owing to the pandemic; and

Supporting and collaborating with other organisations and individuals working for the promotion and protection of human rights and the rule of law, through creative and persistent use of technology, outreach, and partnerships.

These objectives have translated into work in which BHRC has developed expertise and strong relationships on the ground, in the following core areas of focus.
Fair trials are fundamental for justice and the rule of law. Working with our partners, BHRC sends impartial observers to countries around the world to ensure the right to a fair trial through the impartial administration of justice. The aim of trial observation is to report independently on the adherence of hearings to international fair trial standards. Our trial reports are widely circulated and have been referenced in court proceedings. BHRC regularly identifies legal proceedings where defendants’ fair trial rights or the rule of law are under threat. We send international law experts around the world to monitor these proceedings and report back on violations of the prosecuting country’s international human rights obligations.
Public statements and letters of concern are an important means of holding governments to account, highlighting specific legal concerns and drawing international attention on alleged violations. BHRC publishes widely-shared Statements on a broad range of human rights issues and alleged abuses, often in collaboration with international partners. We harness international opinion, legal expertise and media reach to highlight under-reported human rights violations, bringing them to wider attention, building consensus and evidence, and pushing forward the argument for meaningful remedies. BHRC issues formal letters of concern in relation to human rights concerns, addressed to those in positions of authority. In doing so, we aim to demonstrate to state authorities that international attention is focused on their actions, enable dialogue to take place between BHRC and relevant officials (or other individuals), and build pressure for cases to be reviewed and any violations curtailed.
BHRC intervenes in cases around the world, providing expertise on international human rights law to prevent individual injustices and strengthen broader protections in cases where legal precedents could be set. The resource-intensive nature of preparing amicus to a high standard means that BHRC seeks to intervene only in the gravest cases of suspected violations of a defendant’s fair trial rights. In most cases, this involves those facing the death penalty. BHRC condemns the death penalty as a means of punishment, but also is concerned with the flawed circumstances in which it often is applied.
The Bar Human Rights Committee regularly produces in-depth reports on global human rights issues. We provide expert analysis of ongoing or historic human rights abuses and situations of concern, connecting detailed in-country research to our expertise on matters of international law.
BHRC furthers interest in and knowledge of human rights primarily through training and events. In addition to holding its own events, BHRC is asked to lend its expertise to other public events around the world.


USA v And al-Rahim al-Nashiri

BHRC has kept a watching brief on the use of the detention facility at Guantánamo and procedural developments in the Military Commissions being held there. In 2019, BHRC became the only UK-based organisation to be granted official observer status for the ongoing trials in the Military Commissions. Since then, BHRC has observed two cases at Guantánamo and has expressed serious concern that these proceedings demonstrate fundamental flaws and departure from fair trial norms. BHRC launched its second trial observation report from USA v Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in June 2023 at a virtual panel event where we discussed the history of Camp Justice and its continued legitimacy as a mechanism to address the crimes of Al Qaeda in the 1990s and early 2000s.