Human rights

Human Rights Day 2020: celebrating international agreements

International human rights treaties, including the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights, are among the strongest signs of global shared humanity and form the bedrock of international peace and prosperity, the Law Society of England and Wales said on International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2020.

“In the UK, the Human Rights Act integrates internationally agreed standards into our own legal framework.

“Through the Act, our rights and freedoms are recognised in law created by Parliament and upheld by the courts. Each and every one of us from the most vulnerable to the most powerful are protected by this legislation.

“Just days ago, an independent review of the Human Rights Act was announced, which has implications for every single one of us. There is an opportunity to establish genuine public discourse and build long lasting consensus. This includes having strong mechanisms for enforcing them, as rights are of little consequence if they cannot be put into practice.

"Human rights law and lawyers protect the fundamentals such as the right to life, free speech and a fair trial. We share these values with nations across the world and they bind us.

“In many countries, including even the UK, lawyers are intimidated or attacked because of the cases they work on or the clients they represent. In many places their lives are at risk – even lost – for defending the human rights of others.

"Threats to the independence of the legal profession undermine the rule of law and impede access to justice for all, especially the most vulnerable.

“It is our duty to speak out clearly whenever we see this happening and we will continue to do so.”

The Law Society promotes and defends human rights in the UK and internationally. We challenge threats to judicial independence and speak out for lawyers at risk, so that they can continue to represent their clients, ensure access to justice and uphold the rule of law.

David Greene concluded: "Respect for human rights is integral to the rule of law. These principles strengthen and protect societies and economies around the world."

Notes to editors

Law Society human rights work

Law Society international rule of law work

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Harriet Beaumont | 0208 049 3854

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