Human rights charity 'stunned' by Lords decision

Social care and human rights charities have reacted angrily to this week's ruling by the House of Lords that private and voluntary sector care homes are not subject to the Human Rights Act.

"This is a catastrophe for the 300,000 vulnerable older people who live in independent care homes," said Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern. "It is crucial to end the 'two tier' system that leaves some of the most vulnerable people in society without any real protection for their human rights."

The British Institute of Human Rights said they were "stunned" by the decision and that "the House of Lords has undermined the fabric of human rights protection in the UK."

But Martin Green, chief executive of the English Community Care Association, which represents both private and voluntary sector care homes, welcomed the decision. He said the values and practice of human rights legislation were enshrined in the Care Standards Act which set national minimum standards that prohibit abusive conditions in all care homes.

"We are pleased that the House of Lords has recognised this in its judgement and has not placed an unnecessary burden on a sector whose energy should be directed at delivering care rather than complying with more regulation," said Green.

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