Great Britain has a long tradition of protecting and promoting human rights at home and abroad. Human rights are fundamental to our way of life, and we must guard against anything that weakens them, including the laws and mechanisms that allow individuals to enjoy and enforce them. Yet, human rights can seem like a difficult topic to discuss with the public. Certainly, they have suffered from a bad reputation in recent years, with a review from 2013 finding that ‘human rights’ was only used in a positive context in 30% of articles, blogs and parliamentary speeches in Great Britain. Our own media analysis found that articles about human rights published by six major news outlets over the course of 2017 were dominated by a discussion of Britain’s relationship with Europe and immigration.
We have a statutory duty to promote awareness, understanding and protection of human rights. Our objectives are to safeguard and enhance the human rights legal framework.
Although human rights compete with a number of other issues on the policy agenda, public opinion can often influence policy-makers and government priorities. We believe that if we can increase public understanding of what human rights are and the positive value they bring, then people become powerful stakeholders and supporters of the work we and other organisations are doing.
For Equinet work on these issues, please see the publications below, talking about positive framing and values-based communciation respectively.