Public bodies accused of paying lip service to human rights

David
Lammy, minister at the Department for Constitutional Affairs, has accused
public authorities of failing to give serious consideration to their
responsibilities under the Human Rights Act.

Lammy
said that rights enshrined in the Human Rights Act should be built into
everyday decision-making for public authorities and that leadership from the
top was needed to develop a "culture of human rights" for public
services.

However,
he claimed that authorities were only paying lip service to rights such as fairness
and respect for individual human dignity.

The
minister said it should not only be legal departments that consider human
rights, and that public authorities should not be waiting for the forthcoming
Commission for Equality and Human Rights to lead them by the hand.

"It
is tragic and pathetic that some public authorities see human rights as a
matter for their legal departments and no-one else," Lammy said.

By Michael Millar

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