Majority Think Human Rights Abuse is a Problem in Britain

Britain Split on Whether Human Rights Abuse is a Problem

The majority of Britons agree that laws protecting our human rights are important, but according to new research the country is split on whether the abuse of those rights is a real problem.

A new worldwide poll from researcher Ipsos MORI has asked people in 28 countries about their rights and feelings towards them.

Four in ten (43 percent) people globally agreed that everyone in their country enjoys the same basic human rights, with British responses (41 percent) reflecting the global average.

The findings have cast doubt over how universal we believe human rights really are – even in some of the most developed countries such as Great Britain. Here, the majority  of people (35 percent) believe that human rights abuses are a problem in the country. However, 32 percent of respondents think these abuses aren’t really a problem in Britain.

On the international level, Germans are most likely to agree that human rights abuses aren’t a problem in their country, Colombians are least likely to agree.

Knowledge is Patchy

The global research tells us more about how we understand and interpret human rights.

Despite 80 percent of Britons agreeing that it’s important to have a law which protects human rights, knowledge of human rights remains patchy. Roughly half of us say we know a great deal or fair amount about human rights, compared with 43 percent who say we know very little or nothing at all. This is slightly lower than the global average.

The majority of UK respondents believe that some people take unfair advantage of human rights. However, only three in ten of us (a decided minority) think that the only people who benefit from human rights are those who ‘do not deserve them.’ This is at odds with the philosophy of important human rights documents, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which argue that human rights should be available for everyone.

Protecting Our Rights

Image Credit: David Geitgey Sierralupe/Wikimedia

The research suggests that, when it comes to protecting human rights, us Brits are much more likely to emphasise the right to freedom from discrimination than most other countries. This is followed by freedom of speech and freedom from slavery or forced labour.

The top groups needing protection, according to those polled here, are children and people who are disabled. The study says Britons are also more likely to say refugees need protection than the average response from across 28 countries.

Commenting on the findings, Kully Kaur-Ballagan, Research Director at Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute said, “human rights are seen as important and the majority of the British public values them, yet there is a sense that not everyone in the country enjoys the same universal basic human rights.”

She continues that despite this, “the majority of the British public believe that human rights do make a positive difference to their everyday lives.”

Feature Image Credit: Samwalton9/Wikimedia

Help us increase understanding and support for human rights in the UK.

About the Author

Ollie Cole

Freelance News Editor
Ollie is a freelance News Editor for RightsInfo and multimedia journalist. He specialises in broadcast, online, and photography, and has had work published in a number of regional and national outlets. View all posts by Ollie Cole.
Britain Split on Whether Human Rights Abuse is a Problem
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