Human rights in the UK
The UK today
Amnesty's 2011 annual report highlighted several areas of concern for human rights in the UK:
- An inquiry into allegations of UK involvement in torture and other human rights violations of people held overseas was announced. Key counter-terrorism powers were under review.
- The government continued to rely on diplomatic assurances in its attempts to return individuals to countries where torture is practised.
- Allegations of human rights abuses by UK soldiers in Iraq continued to emerge.
- The Bloody Sunday Inquiry concluded that the deaths and injuries caused by British soldiers that day were unjustified.
- Forced returns to Baghdad continued.
Dale Farm evictions
In October 2011, 400 residents of Dale Farm Irish Travellers' camp in Essex were finally forced to move out after a long battle with the authorities.
The forced eviction took place despite the residents owning the land and having made several applications for planning permission to stay in their homes. Read more
Amnesty is concerned by the wider deployment of Tasers in the UK following several deaths at the hands of police.
- In August 2011, a man in Barrow, Cumbria died after being struck by a Taser.
- In July 2011, an 82-year-old man was hospitalised for days after being Tasered in west London by a Metropolitan Police officer. The man was reported to have been arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and criminal damage to a motor vehicle.
- In 2006, a 47-year-old man died after being shocked with a Taser. Brian Loan was believed to be the first person in the UK to die after being shocked with the electro-shock weapon. A Home Office post-mortem reportedly found that he had died of 'natural causes'.
In the United States, more than 450 people have died in the last 10 years after being struck with a Taser. Amnesty believes that only officers who receive the highest standard of training on how and when to use the weapons should be armed and there should be full accountability.