Freedom from Torture joins civil society groups to unite around Human Rights Act

As countries across the world celebrate global Human Rights Day, Freedom from Torture has joined more than 70 UK civil society organisations' call on Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, to ensure the legal protection of universal human rights in the UK by securing the Human Rights Act.

The signatories represent the diversity and richness of UK civil society, from national organisations like Freedom from Torture, Liberty and Age UK, to community groups working with disabled people and carers, lawyers and advocates, and international bodies like Amnesty International UK and Human Rights Watch. Across this diversity, what unites the signatories is a fundamental shared belief in the equal dignity of all people and the legal protection of basic human rights.

Reflecting the participation and inclusion themes of this year's human rights day, the groups raise their collective concern about the direction of travel for the UK human rights debate.

On the eve of the report of the Commission on a UK Bill of Rights, the signatories noted that "what should be a healthy debate about how best to secure the human rights of each and every one of us has, for far too long, lacked political leadership." This, they say, "jeopardises the progress we have made at home in ensuring that our human rights obligations lead to real change for people in their everyday lives." It also "places our reputation for international human rights leadership at risk."

The signatories noted that "The UK seeks to champion human rights abroad; now is the time to show leadership here at home, to re-connect the debate to the country's traditional values of fair play and our belief in basic human dignity and justice for everyone."

On this Human Rights Day the signatories have called on the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to ensure "the protection of universal human rights is safe in the UK." This means "securing and advancing our Human Rights Act."

On Human Rights Day, 10 December, civil society groups will be holding a photo-call featuring the open letter, at 1.30pm in Parliament Square, the heart of political power.

View the letter sent to Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and all MPs and Peers below.