TWENTY years ago the Human Rights Act gained royal assent and since then it has played a role in many big struggles for justice, but very few people are aware of the part it has played, and it is still under threat of repeal by the current government. This would be a grave mistake in my view.

The Act was a vital factor in the Hillsborough families’ struggle to finally get the inquest they had sought so they could uncover the truth about how their 96 loved ones died and confirm that police mistakes led to their deaths.

It has also been an essential tool for the parents of a son who died in a Mid Staffs hospital who used the Act to expose the inadequate care he received.

It has also been used to challenge an elderly couple’s separation in two different nursing homes, by the daughter of a woman who was murdered by her violent partner, and by relatives of patients who had ‘Do not resuscitate’ orders placed on their notes without their consent.

It has ensured equal rights for gay couples, protected journalists and their sources and led to prosecutions over slavery and trafficking.

We should celebrate twenty years of the Human Rights Act and the contribution it has made to righting wrongs. Avoidable tragedies like Grenfell are evidence that we need the means to hold the powerful to account, now as much as ever.

Andrew Hemming

(Salisbury Amnesty International)