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Statement on GANHRI review of the EHRC: a call for an independent appointments commission

TransActual welcome the news that GANHRI have decided to initiate a special review into the EHRC, while regretting that such a review is necessary in the first place. We have been deeply concerned about the EHRC for some time and, together with our partners in the LGBTQ+ sector, first wrote to GANHRI with our concerns in 2022. You can read the background to our complaints and about the ongoing issues at https://transactual.org.uk/ehrc/

The EHRC have failed trans and non-binary people by trying to reinterpret existing law and promoting the exclusion of trans and non-binary people from everyday services. In April this year, they could not define “biological sex” which they’d used repeatedly in a letter to government. They have been unable to clarify why they have changed from an inclusive approach to an exclusive one, mirroring the current government’s statements in relation to “biological sex”.

These serious failures were noted by the UN Independent Expert for SOGI following his visit to the UK in the spring. He said that the EHRC’s statements around trans people and our rights are “wholly unbecoming of an institution created to ‘stand up for those in need of protection and hold governments to account for their human rights obligations’”. 

The EHRC needs to change. It has not just failed trans and non-binary people, but has also failed to hold the government to account around disability rights and in relation to racism.

Government should play no part in appointing the EHRC’s commissioners. We call for the appointment of an independent commission to review the EHRC’s systems and processes and to take responsibility for appointing all EHRC commissioners – including the chair.

Read TransActual’s previous statements on the EHRC