Tag Archives: human rights

Whatever happened to the EHRC report on #Labourantisemitism ?

No comment: it seems that, when it comes to learning the results of an investigation into whether the Labour Party has an institutional problem with anti-Semitism, some are more equal than others.

Here’s a thing that just disappeared off the political map as soon as it was expedient.

The Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) launched an inquiry into “institutional anti-Semitism” in the Labour Party more than a year ago, when Jeremy Corbyn was party leader and right-wingers were making a huge fuss about it in order to have him removed.

Information that has come to light since the investigation started – for example, from the so-called LabourLeaks report – suggests that any such institutional anti-Semitism was perpetrated by right-wing factionalists within the party, with an intent to smear Corbyn’s leadership.

The EHRC finally produced its report in July, when a copy was handed to new party leader Keir Starmer, so he could provide feedback on it before it is made public.

Since then, we’ve heard nothing about it.

So Simon Maginn send a Freedom of Information request to the organisation, asking when it would be published. Here’s his tweet about the response:

According to a report by The Prole Star,

Other left-wing social media accounts have expressed their disgust at the EHRC’s point blank refusal, the prevalent opinion [being] that the very existence of the inquiry, launched amid massive media coverage in May 2019, had ‘done its job’ in undermining jeremy Corbyn’s Labour to the extent that it lost the General Election and led to his resignation as leader.

It is also widely believed that the reluctance to make the report public indicates that its findings do not fit the ‘Labour is antisemitic’ narrative trumpeted so regularly by the media over the last few years – which appears to strangely have stopped ‘being news’ since Spring 2020.

Intrigued by this, I dropped a line to the EHRC myself:

At the time of writing, there has been no response.

Admittedly, it was a Saturday. Perhaps everybody was out watching the football.

But then, the organisation did manage to tweet this just before I sent my message…

… and this, a few hours after…

… so I think we must all reluctantly conclude that there’s something suspicious going on.

Perhaps a Labour MP – perhaps even the Labour MP who was most often accused (Jeremy Corbyn) could take this up as a matter of urgency?

Source: EHRC Refuses To Say When – Or If – Its ‘Labour Antisemitism’ Report Will Be Published

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It seems the UK’s Equalities watchdog is a racist organisation. How can we believe its report on Labour?

Chris Williamson: He was subjected to death threats because of the false accusations against him, but the EHRC appears to have attacked him in its report.

A common tactic among right-wingers, when a document is about to be published  or a claim made that attacks them, is to undermine the validity of the issuer of that document in some way beforehand.

We’ve seen that happen many times over the last few years, haven’t we?

Often the critical claims have been proved untrue later. Consider all the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn.

Now, with the Equality and Human Rights Commission soon to release its report on alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, that organisation is being buried under a flood of bad publicity.

But it seems unlikely that these claims will be quite as easy to dismiss.

Here’s Chris Williamson: he was the victim of a huge vilification campaign by many of his colleagues on the Labour benches after he made perfectly reasonable comments about the party’s attitude to anti-Semitism complaints in a speech.

The EHRC report comments on his case, and this means he has been allowed to see it in advance. From his response, it seems clear that the organisation has drawn a false conclusion:

He is right to start crowdfunding now. By the time the report comes out – hopefully – he will have raised the funds he needs and will be able to launch his proceedings immediately.

Clearly, he’s not making a wild accusation; people don’t take others to court frivolously unless they want to be penalised for vexatious litigation (Rachel Riley take note).

It seems the EHRC has already lost any credibility in claims of racism against other people and organisations, though; it has just been revealed that it removed its only black and Muslim commissioners in what the two people involved consider a clear act of racism:

Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece, who at the time was the only Muslim commissioner and Lord Simon Woolley who was the only black commissioner, both lost their positions in November 2012.

At present, it has no black or Muslim members among its board of ten commissioners, which also includes the chair.

It currently stands accused of not standing up for British Muslims and being too close to the ruling Conservative Party, both claims the EHRC firmly denies.

“We were too loud for what the new coalition government wanted,” Lord Woolley told Newsweek.

“Our job as commissioners was to do exactly what they were supposed to do, to raise the fundamental issues of tackling race inequality in education, in health, in employment, within the criminal justice system and I saw that as my central role, but it was made very quickly aware to me that that strong voice was not wanted.

“They [the government] didn’t want the voices that challenge the big structural inequalities, which of course is the raison d’être of the commission, and then to work out plans to use its powers to demand change.”

Baroness Hussein-Ece said that she too feared that being vocal about issues of race worked against her.

She said: “We were the ones who spoke more about race. Race equality generally was put on the back burner during that period.”

She described the decision not to reappoint herself and Lord Woolley at the time as an “appalling” thing to do.

“We were told to apply for the next term because it’s a four-year term, our performance was deemed good, and that we should reapply,” she said.

“When we did reapply, we were told we weren’t even shortlisted.”

She also said that she was told by the Equalities Office at the time that more commissioners from business backgrounds were desirable.

The revelation – take note that it came out into the open this week, not in 2012 – has sparked a wave of outrage on the social media (and silence in the Tory-supporting, racist mainstream media). Judge for yourself if the comments are valid:

Remember this when the usual screamers start baying about Labour being guilty of anti-Semitism, simply because the EHRC is investigating; when the organisation itself is racist, its pronunciations on discrimination mean nothing.

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Here’s why equalities watchdog can’t be trusted on its Labour anti-Semitism inquiry

Every day it seems clearer that the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission isn’t fit for purpose.

The latest revelation comes from the watchdog’s current chair, who steps down from that role this week. David Isaac says the government is “dragging its feet” rather than tackle racism.

The government is run by the Conservative Party, and he’s still the head of the organisation that refused to investigation Islamophobia in that organisation, saying the Tories could be trusted to investigate themselves.

Now he’s saying the Tories can’t be trusted to implement policies designed to tackle racism when they have the full weight of the civil service helping them – so how can they be trusted to hold an internal inquiry?

The Tory government reckons it has implemented 16 recommendations from a 2017 report on racism by the Labour MP David Lammy – but Lammy himself says this is untrue and only six have been put into practise.

It seems clear that the EHRC should have looked into Tory Islamophobia – and indeed all Tory racism.

And remember: even though Labour has been actively and publicly implementing policies to counter anti-Semitism, the EHRC still decided to investigate that organisation!

So it seems our equality organisation is hopelessly unbalanced.

And there are even suggestions that the EHRC itself is riddled with racism:

In this context it seems impossible to expect the report on allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party to be fair.

It will reflect the prejudices of those members of the EHRC who have taken part in an exercise that, while claiming to be an investigation, may prove to be more like an inquisition.

A draft of the EHRC report has already been seen by Keir Starmer, but we won’t be able to read it until the autumn, after Labour has had a chance to respond to its findings.

Here, again, we must expect no fairness; Labour under Starmer is using the shadow of anti-Semitism to purge the party of innocent members whose only crime is to believe in left-wing ideals of fairness, peace and – risibly – equality.

I could be wrong, of course. We may all be pleasantly surprised. But I doubt it.

Source: Boris Johnson’s government ‘dragging its feet’ on tackling racism says watchdog chief – Mirror Online

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Floodgates open as 300+ disabled people issue court claim for Universal Credit cash

A landmark court ruling looks set to cost the Tory government a small fortune as people with disabilities line up to demand their lost cash.

More than 300 people are involved in this initial claim – but solicitors Leigh Day reckon more than 13,000 could be owed lost income totalling £170 per month or more.

Here are the details:

More than 300 severely disabled people have issued a claim in the High Court for lost income under the universal credit system.

The group, represented by Leigh Day solicitors, say they have each missed out on at least £170 a month since they were moved on to universal credit as the new benefits system has been rolled out across the UK.

All of the group were moved on to the system before January, 2019 and lost the severe disability premium which they had previously claimed, which left them worse off.

However, severely disabled people who have been moved on to universal credit since January 2019 have not missed out on the severe disability premium.

Instead, their universal credit claims have been managed by the Severe Disability premium Gateway system which has been put in place to ensure that severely disabled benefits claimants do not end up worse off under the universal credit system.

The claimants argue that they have suffered because of the unlawful implementation of the Universal Credit  (Transitional Provisions) 2014, the SDP Gateway Regulations, January 2019, and the Managed Migrations Regulations 2019.

They claim they have suffered discrimination under Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The current litigation appears to follow a Court of Appeal ruling on these issues – that the government not only discriminated against disabled people moving from Severe Disability Premium onto Universal Credit, but then tried to discriminate against them with the repayments.

The issue was discovered by two claimants, anonymised as TP and AR, whose disability benefits were cancelled when they moved from one local authority area to another. They were put on Universal Credit instead, with £180 per month wiped off the amount they were set to receive.

The government attempted to rectify the situation with regulations which stopped other severely disabled people from moving over to Universal Credit and provided those who had already moved over with back payments.

But in another failure of the kind that has made the Tory government notorious, the disabled men were only paid back at a rate of £80 a month, rather than the £180 that they had lost.

The Court of Appeal, in a unanimous judgment, agreed with lower courts that the Government had unlawfully discriminated against this cohort of severely disabled claimants.

This site previously reported that a pre-action protocol letter had been sent to Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey. Leigh Day solicitors have now issued the full claim, saying she failed to substantively respond to that letter.

They believe that up to 13,000 disabled people in the UK have been affected by the change and may be entitled to make a claim to retrieve lost benefit payments.

“Our clients believe that it clearly cannot be right that they find themselves £170 a month worse off under the universal credit system when other claimants have the assurance that they will not be worse off on universal credit,” said Leigh Day solicitor Ryan Bradshaw.

The claimants are asking the Work and Pensions Secretary for compensation equal to the amount of money they have lost following their transfer to Universal Credit, for their previous level of benefits to be restored and maintained until a lawful migration scheme is established, and for compensation for the stress they have been caused.

Source: Disabled benefit claimants issue claim for lost income under universal credit system

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Equality watchdog has shown Starmer its report on Labour anti-Semitism: expect leak soon

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission has finished its report on allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party and sent a copy to Keir Starmer. We can expect it to be leaked soon, then.

That’s only if the report is critical of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, of course. If not, we can expect the party’s right-wing factionalists to keep tight-lipped about it.

It will be hard to take the report seriously in any event; the EHRC is the so-called equality organisation that refused to investigate government discrimination against sick and disabled people.

And it declined the opportunity to investigate Conservative Islamophobia because that party was conducting an investigation of its own. What about Labour’s (now-multiple) investigations into anti-Semitism?

There’s a very strong double-standard operating here.

The report won’t be made public until September, we are now told – after Labour as an organisation, rather than just Starmer, has had a chance to comment on it.

In the meantime, let’s take the opportunity to review the standards under which the investigation should have been carried out.

We are fortunate to have Richard Snell’s observations, originally posted on Facebook, to help us in this.

He wrote in a letter to EHRC chair David Isaac:

“I hope that [the EHRC] bases its inquiry on the historical definition of anti-Semitism which is a hatred of all Jews and of the whole of Jewish religion and culture, a definition which does not concern itself with any one state and does not discriminate between the different denominations or branches of the Jewish people?

“I point this out because the allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party are being made by certain of its members who wish to protect Israel from the criticisms which have followed on from its actions in Palestine. These see fit to associate in the public mind the contemporary and specific criticisms of the modern state of Israel with the long tradition of anti-Semitism which I have described above.

“It was to ensure that this equation was regularised that the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism was formulated.

“I feel therefore it is vital that the EHRC ignores the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism in this context as being politically-motivated, permitting the suppression of criticism of Israel and diverting attention away from the genuine problems many Jews face as they have always faced regardless of their allegiance or lack of it to Israel.

“I am myself a Jew, and feel this strongly.

“All this being said, then may I also hope that the EHRC asks the following questions in the course of its investigation, questions inspired by the kinds of actions historically taken against Jews by those who oppose them simply because they are Jews, i.e. by genuine anti-Semites?

“1. Have any Jews been required to identify themselves as Jews in their application to join the Party?

“2. Have any Jews been excluded from the Party on the sole grounds that they are Jewish?

“3. Have any Jews been required by the Party to carry or wear something which specifically identifies them as being Jewish?

“4. Have any Jews been denied access to meetings, committees or conferences on the sole grounds that they are Jews?

“5. Have any Jews been denied the right to stand as officers for, speak at, or in any other way contribute to meetings, committees or conferences, on the sole grounds they are Jews?

“6. Have any Jewish officers been denied promotion within the Labour Party on the sole grounds that they are Jewish?

“7. Have any Jews been denied membership of the NEC on the sole grounds that they are Jewish?

“8. Have any Jews been denied the right to stand as Parliamentary candidates on the sole grounds that they are Jewish?

“9. Have any Jews been denied the right to cabinet status on the sole grounds that they are Jewish?

“10. Have any Jews ever been denied the right to stand for the Party leadership on the sole grounds that they are Jewish?

“11. Is there any part of the Party’s constitution which includes Jews among those social classes of which the Labour Party is critical?

“12. Are there any rules in the Party’s rule-book which are specific to Jews, both regarding how they must or must not behave and what kinds of discriminatory actions should be taken against them?

“13. Have any representatives of the Party been permitted by the Party to speak or write against Jews in any public forum, or in so doing have claimed that they are speaking on the Party’s behalf?”

I agree with Mr Snell that it is by its answers to these questions that we should judge the EHRC’s report. Failure to answer them will raise even more serious questions about the organisation’s role than already exist.

Mr Isaac should be a nervous man. He may have judged the Labour Party, but we will now judge the EHRC.

Source: Labour sees draft conclusions of anti-Semitism report – BBC News

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Hypocritical Tories verbally attack human rights abusers – but go on selling them weapons

Dominic Raab: his pretty words about human rights mean nothing, now that his colleague Liz Truss is selling bombs to Saudi Arabia again.

How utterly disgusting.

The Conservative government has made a great show of imposing sanctions on human rights abusers – while still selling weapons to the same people so they can continue abusing others.

The UK’s poor excuse for a Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, announced sanctions against individuals in Saudi Arabia, Russia, Myanmar and North Korea including asset freezes and travel bans, imposed immediately.

“Those with blood on their hands won’t be free … to waltz into this country, to buy up property on the Kings Road, do their Christmas shopping in Knightsbridge, or siphon dirty money through British banks,” Raab told parliament.

Oh, really?

What about the leaders of Saudi Arabia which – as a nation – has been harming human rights left, right and centre?

The Tories have just finished a review of that nation’s behaviour – forced on it by a court ruling that suspended arms sales there.

They are resuming sales of arms to Saudi Arabia despite having found “credible incidents of concern”.

The Tories said even though they represented “possible” breaches of international humanitarian law (IHL), the UK government viewed these as “isolated incidents”.

What utter drivel. The Tories just want to give Saudis more weapons to continue bombing Yemen into the Stone Age (for example).

Indeed, pathetic self-serving cheese-loving International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said as much:

“The undertaking that my predecessor gave to the Court – that we would not grant any new licences for the export of arms or military equipment to Saudi Arabia for possible use in Yemen – falls away.”

Since the bombing of Yemen started in March 2015 the UK government has issued export licences worth £5.3 billion, including £2.5 billion of licences relating to bombs, missiles and other types of ordinance.

In one stroke, she made a nonsense of her colleague Raab’s statement that “global Britain will be an even stronger force for good in the world, in the years ahead”.

“Stronger”? You have to be a force for good in the first place – and that clearly isn’t true.

Remember also that the UK itself is guilty of “grave and systematic violations of human rights” in its treatment of sick and disabled people, according to the United Nations. The Tories haven’t lifted a finger to stop those violations in four years since the finding was announced.

This Writer supposes that the government had to find something to do with all the weapons it won’t need for the UK’s own armed forces, now that they are being trimmed down almost to nothing.

Defence chiefs have drawn up plans to slash the army by a quarter and reduce the Royal Marines to a bit part as part of Boris Johnson’s defence and security review.

In the worst-case scenario:

• Army manpower would fall from 74,000 to 55,000

• The Royal Marines commando brigade would be disbanded, losing its artillery, engineers and landing craft. Royal Navy minesweepers would also face the axe

• The RAF would shut several airbases and shed its fleet of Hercules transporters.

There are other cuts but those are behind The Times‘s paywall. The government’s own website doesn’t seem to have this information.

The defence cuts would make the UK ripe for attack, of course, should any aggressive country feel like it; these cuts are an offence against the government’s first responsibility, which is to defend the UK’s people.

But Boris Johnson isn’t interested in that. He’s too busy raiding the national piggy-bank for all it’s worth.

Source: UK on collision course with Saudis over new human rights sanctions | Law | The Guardian

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The biters bit: formal anti-semitism complaints are lodged against Starmer and his cronies

Sitting smug: racist anti-semite Keir Starmer probably thinks he can get away with accusing other people of his own crime because the Labour Party is hopelessly biased against attacking right-wing members for anti-semitism, the EHRC isn’t interested and the police think MPs are above the law. Is he right?

It’s good to see some people aren’t brainwashed by Keir Starmer’s misinterpretation of what constitutes anti-semitism.

Starmer, along with several cronies in the Parliamentary Labour Party, has falsely accused Rebecca Long-Bailey of tweeting a link to an article containing an anti-semitic conspiracy theory.

The problem is that, while the interview with Maxine Peake included a disputed claim that members of the Israeli police/military trained US police to use the choke hold that killed George Floyd, it is not anti-semitic to do so.

The claim relates only to the government of Israel, its police and its military – not to all Jews.

On the other hand, it is anti-semitic to confuse Israel, its government, police and military, with all Jews – as Starmer did.

The complaint referenced in the Prole Star article (link below) also accuses Ed Miliband, Margaret Hodge, Nia Griffith, Stella Creasy and Wes Streeting.

It has been lodged with both Labour and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

Independently, the owner of the Skwawkbox blog has also lodged a complaint with the Labour Party.

This Writer doubts that any complaint against Labour will be given the time of day.

The party has apparently failed to take any action against the alleged racists among its officers who baited Diane Abbott, for example.

And the EHRC also seems a dead loss, if we are to judge it by its recent decisions.

Personally, I think the only way to explain the error of their ways to people who would cynically exploit the ignorance of others about anti-semitism, is a private prosecution under the Public Order Act 1986.

Nobody said the Jews were responsible for teaching the choke hold that killed George Floyd to US police – until Keir Starmer.

His words may be construed as incitement to racial hatred under the terms of the Act as it was he who put the idea into the public consciousness.

I don’t think the police or CPS will consider acting against a member of Parliament – even one belonging to the Labour Party – because it is (by now) well-established that MPs are above the law.

And a private prosecution will probably cost a lot of money.

Is anybody up for it?

Source: Formal Complaints Of Antisemitism Lodged Against Six Labour MPs

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DWP faces legal action over lost benefit cash – from no fewer than 275 people with disabilities

It seems people with disabilities are seizing the opportunity granted them by a landmark court ruling – and taking legal action against the government over lost benefit income.

Leigh Day solicitors have sent a pre-action protocol letter to Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey on behalf of no fewer than 275 former claimants of disability benefits who say changes forced on them by the government department deprived them of £170 per month – or more.

They say they lost the cash because they were moved on to Universal Credit before January 2019, when the Department for Work and Pensions introduced the Severe Disability Premium (SDP) Gateway system.

This aims to ensure that people previously entitled to the Severe Disability Premium do not end up worse off when they are transferred to Universal Credit.

The 275 claimants involved say the unlawful implementation of the Universal Credit  (Transitional Provisions) 2014, the SDP Gateway Regulations, January 2019, and the Managed Migrations Regulations 2019 mean they have suffered discrimination, as defined by Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Leigh Day solicitors reckon up to 13,000 disabled people in the UK have been affected by the change and may be entitled to make a claim to retrieve lost benefit payments.

The current litigation appears to follow a Court of Appeal ruling that the government not only discriminated against disabled people moving from Severe Disability Premium onto Universal Credit, but then tried to discriminate against them with the repayments.

The issue was discovered by two claimants, anonymised as TP and AR, whose disability benefits were cancelled when they moved from one local authority area to another. They were put on Universal Credit instead, with £180 per month wiped off the amount they were set to receive.

The government attempted to rectify the situation with regulations which stopped other severely disabled people from moving over to Universal Credit and provided those who had already moved over with back payments.

But in another failure of the kind that has made the Tory government notorious, the disabled men were only paid back at a rate of £80 a month, rather than the £180 that they had lost.

The Court of Appeal, in a unanimous judgment, agreed with lower courts that the Government had unlawfully discriminated against this cohort of severely disabled claimants.

At long last, it seems, people with disabilities have a chance to get compensation from a Tory government that has persecuted them for more than a decade.

Source: 275 severely disabled people launch legal case against DWP over lost benefit income – Welfare Weekly

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Court threat over ‘illegal’ coronavirus-related ‘Do Not Revive’ orders on disabled people

Ventilator: if you’re disabled, and you catch Covid-19, a doctor might deny you access to one of these and let you die. If he does so without asking you, he’s abusing your human rights. Matt Hancock is being told to step in and stop this – or be slapped down by the courts.

Remember when This Site reported that doctors were being ordered to deny coronavirus care to people with disabilities?

It went on for a while.

Eventually it seemed the people at the top of the NHS put a stop to the practice, telling hospitals, GPs and NHS managers not to issue such letters.

So why are we being told that medical professionals are still being told not to revive people with disabilities who are suffering from Covid-19?

The issue is that doctors are being told to issue these letters about disabled people, without consulting those people on whether they agree with the decision. That’s an abuse of human rights.

And now it seems Matt Hancock and the Department of Health and Social Care may face a court order to halt the practice.

The problem is that the government is not directly responsible for the issuing of these letters – doctors are.

But law firm Leigh Day, acting for Kate Masters, whose family has already fought a successful legal action against a DNR order, says the government is failing to provide proper guidance on this issue.

So Hancock is facing an ultimatum. Either he honours the following series of requests:

Masters wants the government to use its emergency coronavirus laws to put several safeguards in place. These state that doctors must not issue DNR notices unless the patient and/or their family/carers are:

  • Told “that it is not appropriate to consider CPR and why”.
  • Provided with “an opportunity to discuss their views and wishes regarding receiving CPR with the healthcare professional making the decision”.
  • Given “clear information as to how the healthcare professional will take into account their views/wishes, the relevance of clinical judgement regarding efficacy of CPR (including being clear consent is not required) and how resource constraints are taken into account”.
  • “Informed of the DNR decision and the reasons why (which must be individual to the patient)”.
  • Advised “they can request a second opinion if they disagree with the decision”.

Or, if he fails to respond by May 7 (tomorrow, at the time of writing), then he’ll be dragged into court to face a judicial review that could force him to treat people with disabilities with the same respect as people with money.

I think he’ll take the court option, even though the request is perfectly reasonable.

Tories want to kill people with disabilities.

They’re a little… Nazi in that respect.

Source: Matt Hancock could face court action over the ‘illegal’ treatment of disabled people during lockdown | The Canary

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If you think the Tories aren’t abusing human rights over coronavirus care home deaths, read this

Dignity: Anne Duncan.

It didn’t take long to find evidence of possible Tory government human rights abuses in care homes.

Here’s the story of Anne Duncan, who faced dying “scared and alone” until her family intervened:

Lawyer Linda Duncan said: “If the Government is going to sacrifice the elderly, they should be transparent about it, and make sure care homes have enough staff qualified to provide dignity and care.”

Linda and son Anton had Anne Duncan, 91, moved from her care home in Edinburgh to the city’s Western General Hospital for her last two days, where the retired teacher was treated with dignity.

Linda and Anton pushed for the move when they learned Anne would not be given oxygen or hydrated.

Elderly Covid-19 ­patients [have been] dying in agony because their care home staff could not provide adequate end-of-life care.

A reminder: Human Rights law says the Government must protect the life of residents and staff in care homes, preventing avoidable deaths. They must also prevent inhuman, degrading treatment.

The Human Rights Act 1998 also imposes an obligation to allow a “good death”, meaning end-of-life care is fundamental.

Source: Mum ‘faced dying scared and alone’ of coronavirus as Government ‘sacrificing’ elderly – Mirror Online

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