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TITLE:  UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND
        HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE:  FEBRUARY 1995









     UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND*


The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) 
is a constitutional monarchy with a democratic, parliamentary 
government elected in periodic, multiparty elections.  Human 
and civil rights are recognized by statute and by strongly-held 
traditions, but there is no written constitution.  The legal 
system treats human rights as assumed unless limited by statute.

Throughout the United Kingdom, civilian police forces are 
responsive to, and controlled by, elected officials.  In 
Northern Ireland, because of terrorist violence, army units 
reinforce the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

The United Kingdom has a highly developed industrial economy.  
The Government provides comprehensive social welfare services.

Terrorist bombings and killings by the illegal Provisional 
Irish Republican Army (Provisional IRA) and other "Republican" 
(Catholic) and "Loyalist" (Protestant) terrorist groups in 
Northern Ireland and Great Britain continued to constitute the 
greatest violations of public order.  However, on August 31 the 
Provisional IRA announced a "complete cessation of military 
operations," and the main Loyalist groups announced a similar 
cease-fire on October 13.  Notwithstanding this, the 
Provisional IRA continued to engage in vigilante "punishment" 
attacks on alleged "antisocial elements," and to exile 
"informers" by force; and one of its local units carried out an 
armed robbery in which a participant killed a postal worker.  
The Government has reacted cautiously to the cease-fire.

"The troubles" in Northern Ireland during the past 25 years 
alone have taken a heavy toll:  over 3,167 people killed, 
including 296 police and 647 military personnel, and over 
38,558 injured (1,955 in vigilante "punishment shootings)."  
Over 9,983 explosions have caused extensive property damage as 
well as deaths.  In Great Britain, more than 100 people have 
died in Provisional IRA attacks during the 25 years.  In 1994, 
as in 1993, no deaths related to the troubles were caused by 
the security forces, despite persistent and sometimes lethal 
(see Section 1.a.) attacks on them by terrorists.  Nonetheless, 
allegations of past use of excessive force by the security 
forces continued to be a matter of contention.


*A separate report on Hong Kong, a dependent territory of the 
United Kingdom, follows this report.

In Northern Ireland, there has been widespread criticism of 
laws and procedures governing detention that deny the right to 
immediate counsel and that encroach on the right to silence.  
Also much criticized have been the use of uncorroborated 
confessions and the placement of teenagers in detention 
facilities filled mainly with adults.  There continued to be 
allegations that security forces physically and psychologically 
abused detainees in holding centers.

Emergency antiterrorist measures enacted during the past 20 
years restrict freedom of movement for 69 suspected terrorists 
and supporters.  Also, primarily due to fear of terrorist 
violence, many Protestant and Catholic communities in Northern 
Ireland have become segregated, and workers are sometimes 
reluctant to commute across sectarian borders.

Parliament passed a Criminal Justice Act in November that,  
among other things, extends to Great Britain the encroachments 
on the right to silence that have been in effect in Northern 
Ireland since a 1988 law.  This legislation, which has drawn 
much public criticism, enables courts to draw a negative 
inference from a suspect's refusal to answer questions under 
some circumstances.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reports of political killings by the Government, 
although a human rights group questioned the police shooting of 
an armed robber.  In Northern Ireland, 59 persons were killed 
by terrorists (37 by Loyalists, 22 by Republicans); 6 were 
British security personnel, killed by the Provisional IRA.

The Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), an 
independent Northern Ireland organization, has continued to 
claim there have been some 340 killings by the security forces 
under disputed circumstances since the current phase of "the 
troubles" began in 1968, with criminal prosecutions in only 32 
cases, and 4 convictions by the end of 1994.

During 1994 the Belfast coroner abandoned three inquests into 
1982 killings by security forces--of three Provisional IRA 
terrorists, two members of the terrorist Irish National 
Liberation Army (INLA), and one youth, under what critics 
charged was a shoot-to-kill policy--after the Government 
refused on national security grounds to release the findings of 
police investigations.

In the case of three Provisional IRA terrorists killed in 
Gibraltar by UK security forces in 1988, the European 
Commission on Human Rights decided the Government did not use 
unnecessary force, but referred the case to the higher-level 
European Court of Human Rights, whose decision is still pending.

The trial of a police officer for killing 19-year-old Kevin 
McGovern concluded with a verdict that the officer had not 
intended to kill the student.

The court trying a soldier in the Royal Irish Regiment, Alan 
O'Leary, for the 1992 killing of a teenager acquitted him of a 
murder charge but found him guilty of manslaughter, and 
sentenced him to 4 years in prison.

There were no significant developments in the case of the 1986 
killing of Patrick Finucane, counsel to many Provisional IRA 
suspects.  The case remains open.

The RUC investigates all killings committed in Northern Ireland 
by its officers as well as by the Army.  The Independent 
Commission for Police Complaints (ICPC), established by the 
Government, supervises police investigations.  Authorized to 
review all complaints, it automatically supervises cases 
involving death or serious injury.  It accepts information 
provided by a complainant and by any other sources, as well as 
that discovered by the police.  The ICPC can advise (but cannot 
require) the Chief Constable to take disciplinary action 
against police officers.

The European Convention on Human Rights stipulates that lethal 
force should be used only when "absolutely necessary," while 
British law calls for it to be "reasonable under the 
circumstances."  Human rights groups have criticized the 
British standard as deficient, but British courts have ruled 
that lethal force may be applied only if there is imminent and 
unavoidable danger to life.  Courts generally assume that a 
police officer who aims and fires a weapon intended to cause 
serious bodily harm; the issue then is whether there was 
justification for such intent.  If not, the only applicable 
charge is murder, requiring a life sentence; the courts have 
been unwilling to impose such a heavy penalty in borderline 
cases.  The alternative charge of manslaughter is applicable in 
death cases only if there is no intent to cause bodily harm; 
there have been few convictions on this basis.

Human rights organizations have called for the establishment of 
an independent public inquiry to investigate allegations of 
police threats to defense lawyers in Northern Ireland and of 
alleged collusion between the security forces and the 
Loyalists.  Amnesty International in February released a report 
on political killings in Northern Ireland which included no new 
information but concluded the Government had not "taken adequate steps to halt collusion."  The 
Government admitted that, while its policy explicitly forbids 
collusion, on occasion some soldiers break the rules.  The 
authorities charged two British soldiers with passing 
information on Republican activists to Loyalist paramilitaries; 
the cases are pending.

For the third year in a row, Loyalists killed more people than 
did the Provisional IRA, although the latter launched a greater 
number of potentially lethal attacks.  Loyalists tended to be 
indiscriminate in shooting suspected Republicans and other 
Catholics, while the Provisional IRA tended to target security 
forces, known Loyalists, and, in widespread bombings, 
commercial or security installations.  The Provisional IRA also 
abducted, tortured, and murdered a Catholic mother of three 
whom it suspected of cooperating with the police.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of disappearances attributed to 
government forces.  Terrorists in Northern Ireland continued to 
abduct suspected informers, and to hold families hostage during 
their operations.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading
         Treatment or Punishment

British laws forbid torture and other cruel, inhuman, or 
degrading treatment.  Confessions thus obtained are not 
admissible in court, and judges can exclude even voluntary 
confessions.  Nonetheless, Helsinki Watch asserted that in the 
United Kingdom, "evidentiary rules in nonjury courts permit the 
admission into evidence of unreliable confessions, some of 
which may have been secured by abusive treatment in 
detention."

There continued to be allegations that police have physically 
and psychologically abused detainees, including teenagers.  A 
new code of practices took effect on January 1, 1994, further 
standardizing police interrogation procedures and strengthening 
the oversight requirements.  Detainees who claim physical 
mistreatment have the right to an immediate medical 
examination.  Such a claim must be examined by a trial judge.

The "Ballymurphy Seven," a group of teenagers arrested in 
connection with an attack on the RUC, alleged police used 
physical and mental coercion to elicit their confessions.  
Charges against four of the seven were dropped in July after 
the court decided there were significant questions regarding 
their state of mind during interrogation; but the court firmly 
concluded there had been no police abuse.  The remaining three 
were released on bail in October, and their cases are pending.

An appellate court found the prosecution had failed to prove 
beyond a reasonable doubt that the police had not intimidated 
Paul Hill into confessing to the 1974 murder of a former 
soldier; the court overturned Hill's conviction.

The ICPC (see Section 1.a.) reported that in 1993 it received 
1,209 complaints of official abuse, that its investigations led 
to the substantiation of 25, the disciplining of 88 police 
officers, and the lodging of criminal charges against 6 more.  
In 1993 the Northern Ireland Secretary named an Independent 
Assessor of Military Complaints to deal with procedures 
regarding complaints of abuses by the Army; he has no 
independent investigative powers.  His first report, in May 
1994, noted that, of 210 formal complaints in 1993, 16 were 
substantiated, but in only one case was a soldier severely 
disciplined.

The U.N. Committee Against Torture as well as many human rights 
groups have raised concerns about ill-treatment of detainees in 
Northern Ireland, and recommended that interrogations in police 
custody be videotaped.  The Government has resisted doing so, 
on the grounds that taping could compromise operations and 
jeopardize informants.  Instead, in December 1992 the 
Government appointed a senior barrister as Independent 
Commissioner for Holding Centers in Northern Ireland, with 
authority to make irregular, unannounced visits to any holding 
center, observe interrogations on television monitors, and 
interview detainees.  His first report, in January 1994, found 
some substandard conditions but no significant human rights 
violations.  A Helsinki Watch report, issued later, noted 
allegations by detainees under age 18 that they were subjected 
to physical and mental abuse while in holding centers, and were 
pressured to become informers.

There are accusations that security forces in Northern Ireland 
frequently harass citizens, particularly young people, in areas 
where support for terrorists is considered strong.  The 
Government strongly denies that such behavior is widespread or 
officially tolerated.  Security forces have also been accused 
of more serious abuses.  The CAJ (see Section 1.a.) reported 
that the claimed harassment included threats to kill, kidnap, 
or maliciously prosecute.  Most complaints come from Republican 
neighborhoods, but after police crackdowns on Loyalist 
terrorism, reports of house searches and street harassment in 
some Protestant areas increased.  Officials assert that 
soldiers and police found guilty of harassment are punished 
severely, but the officials have provided no data or details.

Both Loyalist and Republican terrorists in Northern Ireland 
have frequently carried out "punishment" attacks, typically 
involving shooting the victim through one or both knees at 
short range.  In April the Provisional IRA carried out 16 
punishment shootings during a 2-hour period in Belfast.  Since 
the August 31 cessation, both sides seem to have shifted to 
punishment by beatings with iron pipes and baseball bats.

Prison facilities in the UK vary depending upon location.  
Remand facilities tend to be antiquated, overcrowded, 
unsanitary, and/or deficient in exercise areas.  Most permanent 
facilities are good, but an official investigator found some 
with overcrowding, other substandard conditions, or lax 
discipline.  Facilities in the regular prisons in Northern 
Ireland have improved notably in recent years, and are now 
excellent, but conditions at the three holding centers are 
substandard.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

British authorities can and often do make arrests or detentions 
without judicial warrants--especially in Northern Ireland, 
under laws applicable only there (see below)--when they believe 
they have reasonable cause to suspect wrongdoing.

Outside Northern Ireland, suspects arrested without warrants 
must be released within 36 hours unless brought before a 
magistrate's court.  The magistrate may authorize extension of 
detention by an additional 60 hours, or, in cases of crimes of 
violence, for periods of up to 3 years pending trial.  Persons 
charged with "nonserious" offenses can request release on bail; 
bail is almost automatically granted in cases not involving 
violence (unless the suspect previously committed a crime while 
on bail), but otherwise is often denied.

Under the latest Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 
(EPA), passed in 1991, members of the armed forces on duty in 
that province can arrest without a warrant any person they have 
reason to suspect of any offense or intent to commit any 
offense.  Such suspects may be held for up to 4 hours, and then 
must be transferred to police custody or released.

Anywhere in the UK, the most recent Prevention of Terrorism 
(Temporary Provisions) Act (PTA), passed in 1989, allows the 
police to arrest without a warrant persons they have reason to 
suspect of being involved in terrorism.  The authorities may 
detain such persons (even those under 18) for up to 48 hours 
without legal representation or judicial review.  Suspects may 
be interrogated during this time, and confessions obtained may 
be used in subsequent court proceedings.  Detainees under the 
1989 PTA in England or Wales are granted the right to have 
lawyers present during interrogation, but this is not the case 
in Northern Ireland.  Judicial review may be delayed up to a 
further 5 days on the authority of the Home Secretary or, in 
Northern Ireland, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.  
Less than 25 percent of the detainees under the PTA are 
subsequently charged with any criminal offense.

The Government does not practice exile (see Section 2.d. 
regarding exclusion orders), but the terrorist organizations 
do.  Provisional IRA and Loyalist paramilitaries in past years 
have forced numerous people to leave Northern Ireland, by 
threatening death or injury if they remain.  An organization 
that assists threatened persons, Families Against Intimidation 
and Terror, dealt with 35 cases in 1993 (latest data), 
including seven entire families.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The law provides for fair trial, but in practice there have 
been some serious exceptions.  In the late 1980's, after 10 
years of public pressure, the Home Secretary directed the 
courts to reconsider several cases.  Appellate courts did so 
and concluded that:  lower courts often relied too heavily on 
uncorroborated confessions and on presumed integrity of the 
police; appellate judges tended to accept lower-court rulings 
without checking for procedural flaws and new evidence, and 
occasionally displayed open hostility to the defense; courts 
sometimes accepted tainted forensic evidence; and prosecutors 
sometimes withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense.

In response, the Government in 1991 established a Royal 
Commission to review all aspects of the criminal justice system 
in England and Wales.  The Commission's report, issued in 1993, 
included 352 recommendations.  In 1994 the Government announced 
its intent to establish in the following year an independent 
review body for appeals of suspected miscarriages of justice.

In November the Parliament enacted a Criminal Justice and 
Public Order Bill.  Under it, judges may instruct juries that 
they can draw an inference of guilt from a defendant's refusal 
to answer questions during interrogation or trial, though no 
conviction may be based solely on such an inference.  Human 
rights groups have sharply criticized this provision.  A 
similar one has been in effect in Northern Ireland since 1988.

An indigent defendant has the right to free counsel of his or 
her choice.  All criminal proceedings must be held in public 
except those in juvenile court or involving public decency or 
security.  In a trial under the Official Secrets Act, the judge 
may order the court closed, but the sentencing must be public.  
Convictions can be appealed to successively higher courts.

In Northern Ireland, special "emergency" restrictions affect 
due process.  Under the 1973 EPA, the Government suspended the 
right to trial by jury there for certain terrorist-related 
offenses, because terrorists often intimidated the judiciary, 
jurors, and lawyers.  Such offenses are tried instead by a 
"Diplock Court," a judge presiding without a jury.  If the 
decision is to convict, the judge must justify it in a document 
that becomes part of the court record, and an  appellate court 
may overturn it on substantive as well as legal grounds.  The 
Diplock Courts have been widely criticized.  The EPA also 
permits the use of uncorroborated confessions, but they cannot 
be the sole basis for conviction anywhere in the UK.  The 1988 
Criminal Evidence Order allows judges to draw adverse inference 
when a suspect refuses to answer questions.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or
         Correspondence

Warrants are normally required for a police search of private 
premises.  However, under the EPA, on-duty members of the armed 
forces or policemen in Northern Ireland may enter any premises  
if they believe they have "reasonable grounds of suspicion" 
that the entry is necessary to preserve peace and order.

In Catholic communities in Northern Ireland, where distrust of 
the Government has deep historical roots, many believe that the 
conduct of some members of the security forces in carrying out 
security checks constitutes unwarranted harassment and 
intimidation.  Such allegations also occur in Protestant 
neighborhoods, albeit less frequently.  The Government 
intensively trains security personnel in proper procedures, but 
acknowledges that violations of the rules occasionally occur.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Strongly held common-law tradition, an independent press, and a 
democratic political system combine to secure freedom of speech 
and press.  Viewpoints critical of the Government are well 
represented.  The print media are dominated by a handful of 
national daily newspapers, all privately owned and independent 
(though often generally aligned with a political party).  About 
half the electronic media are run by the British Broadcasting 
Corporation (BBC), which is funded by the Government but enjoys 
complete editorial independence.  The remainder are run by 
corporations under renewable government license.

In September the Government removed Sinn Fein from its list of 
proscribed terrorist organizations and their supporters, whose 
voices may not be broadcast in the electronic media.  The 
broadcasting ban remains in place.

Human rights organizations continued to criticize the Official 
Secrets Act of 1990, which prohibits disclosure of a broad 
range of foreign policy and national security information.  
They assert that, in the absence of freedom-of-information 
legislation, the Act shields government activities from public 
scrutiny, including improper or illegal activities if any.  
Alleged offenses under the Act may be tried in secret, and the 
Government need not disclose its justification for holding a 
secret trial.  However, the Act is seldom invoked and has not 
prevented the disclosure of numerous internal government 
documents and alleged wrongdoings.  Attempts by the Government 
in the 1980's to prosecute officials who leaked documents 
generally failed.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Public Order Act of 1986 gives police broad powers to 
restrict or ban public demonstrations, marches, and gatherings 
when they deem that violence or vandalism is likely to result.  
The police rarely ban demonstrations; in recent years they have 
invoked the Act primarily to prevent "New Age travelers" from 
gathering on private property or at ancient monuments such as 
Stonehenge.

The PTA and EPA include sections prohibiting membership in, or 
support of, specified organizations involved in terrorism.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Government policy and practice ensure freedom of religion.  In 
Northern Ireland, the Constitution Act of 1973 prohibits public 
authorities from discriminating on the basis of religious or 
political belief (see Section 5 regarding the Fair Employment 
Act).  Ministers of the two official churches--the (Anglican) 
Church of England and the (Presbyterian) Church of 
Scotland--are ineligible to sit in the House of Commons, but 
the most senior ones hold seats in the House of Lords.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Citizens enjoy freedom of movement within the country and in 
foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation.  However, the 
Home Secretary may exclude from Great Britain anyone believed 
linked with terrorism in Northern Ireland, except anyone born 
in Great Britain or resident there for 3 years; and the 
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland can likewise exclude 
persons not native to or resident in that province.  Currently 
69 persons are subject to exclusion orders.  Several Members of 
Parliament, human rights groups, and the media have objected to 
exclusion orders.  The Secretary of State need not reveal the 
grounds for exclusion, and the evidence is not tested in any 
court.  There is no right of appeal to the courts, but appeal 
may be made informally to an independent advisor.

The Government makes generous provision for political refugees, 
but faced with an exponential rise in asylum applications in 
recent years, it passed legislation in 1993 to speed processing 
of unsubstantiated requests.  Human rights groups have claimed 
the legislation undermines Britain's commitment to provide 
haven for legitimate refugees.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Citizens have this right, and freely exercise it.  The 
Government is formed on the basis of a majority of seats in the 
House of Commons, which are contested in elections held at 
intervals not longer than 5 years.  Participation in the 
political process is open to all persons and parties.  All 
citizens 18 years of age and older may vote.  Northern Ireland 
has city and district councils, as in the rest of the UK, but 
with somewhat fewer powers.  England and Wales also have county 
councils, while Northern Ireland does not.  (Scotland's 
structure is different still.)  From 1922 to 1972, Northern 
Ireland had a devolved provincial Parliament at Stormont, which 
was suspended because its domination by the unionist majority 
was seen as contributing to the troubles.  Attempts have been 
made since then to restore devolved government.

Women and minorities face no legal constraints on voting or 
holding office.  The Head of State is a woman.  The Head of 
Government from 1979 to 1990 was a woman.  Two women are 
members of the present Cabinet.  Both the Labour Party and the 
Liberal Democrat Party have instituted a policy of reserving a 
substantial number of candidacies for women, with the goal of 
equalizing the number of their male and female members of 
Parliament (M.P.'s).  Several members of minority ethnic groups
serve in Parliament.  British dependent territories--other than 
Hong Kong--have small populations, under 60,000, and all are 
ruled by appointed governors or administrators assisted by 
executive councils (usually appointed) and legislative 
assemblies or councils (partly elected).

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

The many nongovernmental human rights organizations operate 
with no government interference.  In 1973 the Government 
established a Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights to 
monitor human rights in Northern Ireland; but the Government 
has declined to adopt many of its recommendations.

A number of international nongovernmental human rights 
organizations, including Amnesty International, are based in 
the United Kingdom.  The Government cooperates fully with 
international inquiries into alleged violations of human rights.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

British laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, 
color, nationality, or national or ethnic origin, and outlaws 
incitement to racial hatred; except that racial discrimination 
is not specifically outlawed in Northern Ireland.  The 
Government respects all the anti-discrimination laws.  In 1991 
the Prime Minister announced that sexual orientation would not 
longer be a bar to receiving a security clearance, but the 
Ministry of Defense has continued to dismiss male and female 
homosexual members of the armed services on grounds of 
"incompatibility with the military services"; some 75 have been 
administratively discharged every year on the basis of 
information obtained in routine investigations by the Special 
Investigations Bureau.

     Women

The law provides for equal opportunity as between the sexes.  
An Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) supports persons who 
bring discrimination cases before industrial tribunals and 
courts, and it produces guidelines on good practice for 
employers.  Employed women throughout the UK earned 
approximately 25 percent less than their male counterparts in 
comparable positions.

Although the UK has no written law specifically prohibiting 
sexual harassment, the common law recognizes it as a valid 
claim for unfair dismissal.  In August a court convicted an 
employer of sexual harassment and two counts of sexual assault, 
sentenced him to 18 months in prison, and awarded the victim a 
record $53,720 (34,000 pounds).

The 1975 Sex Discrimination Act as amended in 1986 prohibits 
indirect as well as direct discrimination in employment, 
training, education, housing, and provision of goods and 
services.  Industrial tribunals in 1994 ruled that the Ministry 
of Defense had acted improperly in having required pregnant 
soldiers, prior to a 1990 change in regulations, to quit or be 
discharged.  The tribunals awarded the plaintiffs substantial 
damages, the highest exceeding $460,000 (300,000 pounds); a 
court later ruled that some of the awards had been excessive.

Women have equal rights regarding property and divorce.  
Statistical and other evidence indicates that most victims of 
violence are women.  The law provides for injunctive relief, 
personal protection orders, and exclusion orders.  The 
Government provides shelters, counseling, and other assistance 
for victims of battery or rape, and it offers free legal aid to 
battered women who are economically reliant upon their abuser.  
It actively prosecutes perpetrators of domestic violence, and 
the law provides for their imprisonment.  The courts have held 
that nonconsensual marital sex can constitute a criminal 
offense.  In 1994 London municipal authorities launched a "zero 
tolerance campaign" to raise public awareness of the extent of 
domestic violence, promote legislative change, and provide 
adequate support to battered women and their children.

     Children

While there are no reliable data on child abuse, indications 
are that it is a problem in the United Kingdom.

Various laws covering England and Wales stipulate that children 
have the right to apply for court orders, to give or withhold 
consent for medical treatment (for those capable of making an 
informed decision), to make complaints to the relevant local 
authority, to have their ethnic, linguistic, and religious 
background considered in decisions affecting them, to have 
reasonable contact with their family (usually applied in a 
circumstance where there has been abuse), and in general to be 
consulted regarding their desires.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has undertaken to 
investigate possibilities for legislation that specifically 
outlaws racial discrimination in that province; such a law 
would fill the sole gap in the United Kingdom's legislated 
prohibitions of discrimination based on race, color, 
nationality, or national or ethnic origin.  The Secretary also 
has undertaken to determine what more the Provincial Government 
should do to promote equal treatment of ethnic groups.

A government-appointed but independent Commission for Racial 
Equality (CRE) provides guidelines on good practice, supports 
persons taking court action under the Race Relations Act of 
1976, and may initiate its own court action.  After 
investigating a complaint, the CRE may issue a notice requiring 
that the discrimination be stopped.  The CRE monitors the 
response to such a notice for 5 years.  In June the CRE 
launched a campaign, "Uniting Britain for a Just Society," to 
change attitudes throughout the Kingdom so as to make racial 
discrimination socially unacceptable.

Although the law prohibits discrimination based on race, 
persons of African or South Asian origin face substantial 
unofficial discrimination.  An inquiry conducted by the Council 
for Legal Education, a nongovernmental organization, found that 
racial discrimination by barristers was a key factor in the 
high failure rate among black students attempting to qualify 
for the bar; the report recommended a series of reforms.  
Several studies showed that ethnic minorities were less likely 
to obtain jobs and mortgages and more likely to live in 
overcrowded housing than were whites.  Members of Asian or 
African minorities were also the targets of racial insults and 
occasional "skinhead" violence.

Police recorded over 9,000 racial incidents in England and 
Wales alone in 1993 (latest data), and a government report in 
March estimated that, nationwide, the total including 
unreported incidents was some 130,000 in 1993, which was double 
the 1989 figure.  The great majority involved verbal abuse, but 
there were also incidents of violence by skinheads.

In London's East End in early 1994, a series of nine apparently 
racially motivated beatings of Asians by white males was 
followed by two killings, by Asians, of white youths--a 
13-year-old in February and a 12-year-old in August.  In the 
first beating incident, police succeeded in promptly 
identifying and arresting 5 of the 20 to 30 perpetrators.

     Religious Minorities

Although discrimination in employment on the grounds of 
religious belief has been unlawful since 1976, it has continued 
to occur in Northern Ireland, including at times by local 
governments.  While active recruitment of Catholics to the 
Civil Service has produced rough proportionality in overall 
numbers, in 1992 the Northern Ireland Civil Service 
acknowledged that Catholics remained significantly 
underrepresented in the senior grades, and in November 1993 it 
declared its intention to overcome this imbalance.

For a variety of historical and social reasons, the Protestant 
community controls much of the local economy in Northern 
Ireland, and anti-Catholic discrimination persists in the 
private sector there.  Despite government efforts, the 
unemployment rate there for Catholic men in 1994 remained 2 1/2 
times that for Protestant men.  Government efforts to increase 
recruitment of Catholics into the police force and related 
security fields in the province have been hampered by 
Provisional IRA assassinations and death threats, as well as 
widespread antipathy there to the security forces.

The 1989 Fair Employment (Northern Ireland) Act as amended aims 
to end even unintentional or indirect discrimination in the 
workplace.  A Fair Employment Tribunal adjudicates complaints.  
All public-sector employers, and all private firms with over 10 
workers, must report annually to the Fair Employment Commission 
on the religious composition of their work force, and must 
review their employment practices at least once every 3 years.  
Noncompliers face criminal penalties and loss of government 
contracts.  Victims of employment discrimination may sue for 
damages.  While critics of the Act have asserted that its 
targets and timetables are too imprecise, most leaders of the 
Catholic community have praised it as a positive step.  Still, 
Catholics hope to strengthen it in 1995, when it is to be 
reviewed by the Standing Advisory Committee on Human Rights.

     People with Disabilities

The UK does not have one overarching law which addresses the 
rights of disabled people; instead, various pieces of 
legislation provide for government assistance in education, 
mobility, home care, and access to buildings.

Access to buildings is improving but inadequate.  Many 
buildings are so old that they do not have elevators.  Since 
1985, government regulations have required that all new 
buildings meet the access requirements of all persons with 
impaired mobility.  In June 1992 the Government effected 
similar regulations for sensory-impaired persons.

Government regulations mandate that by 2000 all taxis be 
accessible to wheelchairs.

A Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill, with provisions similar 
to those in the laws against discrimination based on race or 
sex, was defeated in Parliament due to concerns that its cost 
to businesses would be prohibitive.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Workers have the right to form and join unions, and the 
Government fully respects this.  Unions participate freely in 
international organizations.

Unions are free of government control.  Like employers' 
associations, they must have their accounts certified by the 
Government.  Senior union officers must be elected by secret 
ballot.  The law mandates secret ballots before a strike call; 
prohibits unions from disciplining members who reject a legal 
strike call; and allows members to lodge complaints against 
their union with a government-appointed commissioner.

There is no specific statutory "right to strike" in the UK.  
Voluntary cessation of work may be considered a breach of 
contract.  A system of legal immunities from prosecution for 
unions engaged in lawful industrial action was narrowed by acts 
of Parliament in the 1980's.  These acts exclude secondary 
strikes and actions judged to have political motives; unions 
encouraging such strikes are subject to fines and seizure of 
their assets.  The legislation also restricts the ability of
unions to act against subsidiaries of prime employers with whom 
they are in dispute when the subsidiaries are not party to the 
dispute and are the employers of record.

In September 1993 the Council of Europe (COE) determined that 
British labor law violated the European Social Charter by 
permitting an employer to dismiss all employees who take part 
in a strike and then, after 3 months, to rehire them 
selectively.  The COE requested the British Government to 
notify the COE of the measures to be taken to remedy this 
defect, but the Government has not done so, as it has opted out 
of the Charter.

Legislation in 1978 and 1990 made it illegal to deny employment 
on the ground the applicant is not a union member.  The Trade 
Union Reform and Employment Rights Act of 1993 abolished the 
Wage Councils; set new procedural requirements for union 
strikes, dues collection, and membership rules; and made it 
possible for private citizens, when deprived of goods or 
services due to strike action, to seek damages and to obtain 
assistance for this from the Government.  An amendment reverses 
a court ruling that had banned employers from offering workers 
financial inducements to give up trade union representation.  
The Trade Unions Congress (TUC) in 1993 lodged complaints with 
the International Labor Organization (ILO) on various 
provisions of the 1993 Act (see b., next); by year's end the 
ILO had not completed consideration of these complaints.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Although there is no legal obligation for employers to bargain 
with workers' representatives, and labor-management contracts 
are not enforceable in the courts, collective bargaining is 
longstanding and widespread, covering about 40 percent of the 
work force.

The 1993 Act cited above abolished the Mediation Service's 
mandate to promote collective bargaining; this was the subject 
of another TUC complaint to the ILO.

Workers who believe themselves victims of antiunion 
discrimination may seek redress through industrial tribunals.  
Remedies available include payment of indemnities and 
reinstatement.

Contrary to ILO Convention 98, on the right to organize and 
bargain collectively, it is lawful for employers or others to 
circulate blacklists of union members seeking employment.  In 
May 1993 the ILO concluded that the British Government is 
obliged to protect union members from such discrimination, but 
the Government has not responded to this.

Export processing zones do not exist.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced or compulsory labor is prohibited and is not practiced.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

School attendance until the age of 16 is compulsory.  Children 
under age 16 are not permitted to work in an industrial 
enterprise except as part of an educational course.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

There is no legislated minimum wage.  The Trade Union Reform 
and Employment Rights Act of 1993 abolished the wage council 
system, which prior to September 1993 had established minimum 
hourly wages and overtime rates for adult workers in 26 
low-wage industries.  The United Kingdom has no legislation 
limiting daily or weekly working hours.

The Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 requires that the 
health and safety of employees not be placed at risk.  A Health 
and Safety Commission effectively enforces regulations on these 
matters, and may initiate criminal proceedings.  Workers' 
representatives actively monitor the enforcement.

(###)


[end of document]

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