The debate about human rights in the UK has become narrow, divisive and political. But public scepticism towards human rights relates to their application rather than the principles behind them. For centuries, protecting individual liberty has been seen as an important conservative principle. As Margaret Thatcher put it, “human rights did not begin with the French Revolution...England had 1688, our quiet revolution”.

This project explores how conservatives can think about human rights in a positive way that draws on conservative traditions of individual freedom and empowerment. It also evaluates what the Conservative Government has done on human rights, and explores new narratives and policies, which ensure that human rights are strengthened both in the UK and abroad.

In July 2017 the project culminated with the publication of "Britain breaking barriers: Strengthening human rights and tackling discrimination". This report suggested 68 new policies for the government's social reform agenda.

The report explored three key areas:

  • Ensuring any changes to the UK's human rights legislative framework strengthen human rights and is compatible with being a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

  • Advancing human rights in British foreign policy

  • Tackling discrimination - including gender, sexual, religious, disability and racial discrimination