United Kingdom

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
April 13, 2016

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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the UK) is a constitutional monarchy with a multiparty, parliamentary form of government. Citizens elect representatives to the House of Commons, the lower chamber of the bicameral Parliament. They last did so in free and fair elections on May 7. Members of the upper chamber, the House of Lords, occupy appointed or hereditary seats. Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Bermuda each have elected legislative bodies and devolved administrations, with varying degrees of legislative and executive powers. The UK has 14 overseas territories, including Bermuda. Each of the overseas territories has its own constitution, while the UK government is responsible for external affairs, security, and defense. Civilian authorities throughout the UK and its territories maintained effective control over the security forces.

During the year the most serious human rights problems were continuing stop and search practices in Scotland, female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C), and in Bermuda the incremental introduction of the Disclosure and Criminal Reform Act 2015, which makes possible double jeopardy and removes some protections against self-incrimination.

Other problems included the erroneous refoulement of Eritrean asylum seekers to their homeland, the extended detention of unofficial and failed asylum seekers, violence against women and children, sexual abuse of children, anti-Semitic vandalism and violence, trafficking in persons, ethnic hate crimes, anti-Muslim hate crimes, and discrimination against women in employment.

The government investigated, prosecuted, and punished allegations of official abuse, including by police, with no reported cases of impunity.

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

a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life

During the year there were no reports the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings.

b. Disappearance

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances.

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

The law prohibits such practices, and there were no reports that government officials employed them.

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Prison and detention center conditions generally met international standards. Following a visit to Northern Ireland’s Maghaberry high security prison, the chief inspector of prisons in England and Wales deemed it the most dangerous prison ever inspected and claimed it was unsafe and unstable for prisoners and staff.

Physical Conditions: In March 2014 a Council of Europe committee criticized the conditions of a number of jails in Scotland. After visiting prisons across Scotland, inspectors from the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) stated many prisoners were held in “cupboard-like boxes,” and “don’t feel safe.” In response the Scottish Prison Service noted the findings of the report and stated the safety of prisoners was paramount.

In Northern Ireland women did not have a separate facility from juveniles. In April the Hydebank prison was redesignated a “college” in a new approach to dealing with young offenders.

Another report by the CPT on detention facilities in Gibraltar noted a lack of access to natural light in the cells, no privacy from the in-cell video-surveillance, and no access to meaningful outside exercise for persons held longer than 24 hours.

The Official Annual Report of the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman for England and Wales for the period 2014-15 stated there were 250 deaths in 2014-15, an increase of 5 percent from the preceding year. There were seven deaths in halfway houses, a decrease from 11 in 2014. There was one suicide and one death from natural causes in the immigration removal facility. There were 155 deaths from natural causes and 76 suicides. The prison service noted four as apparent homicides; a further seven deaths were classified as “other non-natural” and eight awaited classification. Scottish Prison Service figures showed 19 deaths in prisons in Scotland in the first 11 months of the year compared with 24 in 2014. Of those 19, 18 were still to be determined following the conclusion of Fatal Accident Inquiries. The other death was a result of natural causes.

According to the Prisoner Ombudsman for Northern Ireland’s annual report for 2014-2015, the ombudsman began investigations into three deaths (one fewer than in 2014). One of the deaths appeared to be self-inflicted, and the other deaths remain undetermined pending postmortem results.

There was one death--a suicide--in the Bermuda prison system in 2014.

Administration: The prisons and probation ombudsman for England and Wales investigated complaints from prisoners and deaths in custody. Separate ombudsmen performed similar duties in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Bermuda. Authorities investigated credible allegations of questionable conditions.

In August 2014 data obtained by BBC Scotland via a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request showed that prisoners in Scotland submitted almost 9,000 complaints to Scottish Prison Service between January 2013 and July 2014. The most common complaints were about food, prison staff, and bullying. In response the Scottish Government stated it would evaluate the independent review process for these grievances.

Independent Monitoring: The government permitted monitoring by independent nongovernmental observers. Every prison, immigration removal center, and some short-term holding facilities at airports have an independent monitoring board (IMB). IMB members are independent, and their role is to monitor day-to-day life in their local facility and to ensure that proper standards of care and decency are maintained. Members have unrestricted access to their local prison or immigration detention center at any time and can talk to any prisoner or detainee they wish, out of sight and hearing of staff, if necessary.

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

The law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, and the government observed these prohibitions.

The Scottish police force, Police Scotland, was criticized after a BBC Scotland investigation in February revealed that consensual stop-searches of children were taking place in Scotland, despite senior officers’ advising members of the Scottish Parliament in June 2014 that the practice would be abolished. In September, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon requested an investigation into the policy.

In Bermuda the number of stop-and-search actions “in anticipation of violence” numbered approximately 250 in the third quarter of the year. This was a significant decrease from a high of approximately 6,500 in the second quarter of 2011, when gang violence was at its height. Civil rights groups stated the law unfairly targeted blacks.

Role of the Police and Security Apparatus

Except in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the national police maintained internal security and reported to the Home Office. The army, under the authority of the Ministry of Defense, is responsible for external security and supports police in extreme cases. The National Crime Agency (NCA) investigates many serious crimes in England, Scotland, and Wales and has a mandate to deal with organized, economic, and cybercrimes as well as border policing and child protection. In May the Northern Ireland Assembly extended the NCA’s powers to Northern Ireland. The NCA director general has independent operational direction and control over the NCA’s activities and is accountable to the home secretary.

By law authorities must refer all deaths and serious injuries during or following police contact--including road traffic fatalities involving police, fatal police shootings, deaths in or following police custody, apparent suicides following police custody, and other deaths where the actions or inaction of police may have contributed--to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The IPCC managed an investigation into allegations against a member of Humberside Police staff who in January was found guilty of witness intimidation, aggravated stalking, harassment, and assault. He was jailed for 12 months.

Scotland’s judicial, legal, and law enforcement system is fully separate from that of the rest of the UK. Police Scotland reports to the Scottish justice minister and the state prosecutor. Police Scotland reports cross-border crime and threat information to the national UK police and responds to UK police needs in Scotland upon request.

Police Scotland was criticized for arming officers on routine patrol and for its policy on stopping and searching juveniles (see section 1.d.).

Northern Ireland also maintains a separate police force, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). The PSNI reports to the Northern Ireland Policing Board, a nondepartmental public body composed of members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and independent members of the community. Northern Ireland’s minister of justice appoints the board.

In Bermuda the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) is responsible for internal security. The BPS reports to the governor appointed by the UK but is funded by the elected government of Bermuda.

Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces, and the government has effective mechanisms to investigate and punish abuse and corruption. There were no reports of impunity involving the security forces during the year.

Coroner’s inquests investigated deaths related to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The Historical Enquiries Team was closed and replaced by the Legacy Investigations Branch located in the PSNI.

Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees

Police in the UK must have a warrant issued by a magistrate or a judge to arrest a person. Police must inform detainees promptly of charges against them, and this right was respected. A senior police official must authorize detention without charges for more than 24 hours, and a magistrate must authorize detention for more than 36 hours up to a maximum 96 hours. Police may detain terrorism suspects without charge for up to 14 days.

There is a functioning bail system, and defendants awaiting trial have the right to bail, except for those judged to be flight risks, likely to commit another offense, suspected terrorists, or in other limited circumstances.

If questioned at a police station, all suspects have the right to legal representation, including counsel provided by the government if they are indigent. Police may not question suspects who request legal advice until a lawyer is present. Detainees may make telephone calls. The maximum length of pretrial detention is 182 days. The court may extend the detention in exceptional cases. Suspects were not held incommunicado or under house arrest. Authorities generally respected these rights.

In Gibraltar the CPT found that, while the right of access to a lawyer is adequately enshrined in law in Gibraltar, a lawyer was only accessible at the detainee’s own expense.

In Scotland police may detain a subject for no more than 24 hours. After an initial detention period of 12 hours, a police custody officer may authorize further detention for an additional 12 hours without authorization from the court, if the officer believes it necessary. Only a judge can issue a warrant for arrest if he or she believes there is enough evidence against a suspect. A detainee must immediately be informed of allegations against him or her and be advised promptly of the charges against him or her if there is sufficient evidence to proceed. Police may not detain a person more than once for the same offense. Depending on the nature of the crime, a suspect should be released from custody if he or she is deemed not to present a risk. If police think it is important that the case is heard at court quickly, the suspect may be released on an “undertaking”--a promise to attend court when told to. Suspects perceived to be a risk to the public can be held in custody until the next court day. There is a functioning bail system.

In Bermuda a person must usually be arrested with a warrant issued by a court. The law permits arrests without warrant in certain conditions. No arrests or detentions can be made arbitrarily or secretly. The detainee must be told the reason for his arrest immediately upon being arrested. Detainees may be held for 42 hours for investigation, but detention should be reviewed at specified intervals of initially six hours, then every 12 hours, until 42 hours are reached. For serious crimes, a senior police officer may authorize additional detention of up to 72 hours before charges are filed. Crimes with firearms automatically allow detention up to 72 hours and have special provisions under the law to detain without charge for two weeks, followed by an additional two-week period with the approval of the Supreme Court.

There is a functioning system of bail. A detainee has the immediate right of access to a lawyer, either through a personal meeting or by telephone. Free legal advice is provided for detainees. A detainee who wishes to have another lawyer can have one at his own expense. Police can interview without a lawyer in exceptional circumstances which must be authorized, such as to save life or to find kidnapping victim. Police must inform the arrestee of his rights to communication with friend, family member, or other person identified by the detainee. The police superintendent can authorize incommunicado detention for serious crimes such as terrorism. House arrest does not legally exist but may be a condition of bail.

Formal complaints about arrests can be made to an independent criminal compensation board, the police complaints authority, the Human Rights Commission, or a court.

Protracted Detention of Rejected Asylum Seekers or Stateless Persons: See section 2.d.

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

The law provides for an independent judiciary, and the government respected judicial independence.

Trial Procedures

The law provides for the right to a fair trial, and an independent judiciary routinely enforced this right. Defendants enjoy a presumption of innocence, and the right to be promptly and in detail informed of the charges, with free interpretation as necessary. Criminal proceedings must be held without undue delay and be open to the public except for cases in juvenile court or those involving public decency or security. In a trial under the Official Secrets Act, the judge may order the court closed, but sentencing must be public.

The law in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland allows for jury trials with some exceptions. The law provides for judge-only trials when there is a “real and present danger that jury tampering would take place.” In Scotland a judge hears summary procedures without a jury. The maximum prison and financial penalties for summary procedures are 12 months’ imprisonment and a fine of 10,000 pounds ($15,020). Cases involving greater penalties require a jury. Bermudian law provides for jury trials in criminal cases and for trial by judge in civil cases.

Defendants have the right to communicate with an attorney of choice, or to have one provided at public expense, except in cases before employment tribunals that may unintentionally overlap with undiscovered discrimination cases. Defendants and their lawyers have adequate time and facilities to prepare a defense and have access to government-held evidence relevant to their cases, with some exceptions, such as instances in which information pertaining to a suspect relates to national security. Defendants have the right to confront witnesses against them, present witnesses and evidence, and not to be compelled to testify or confess guilt. Defendants have the right to appeal adverse verdicts.

In Bermuda, Parliament enacted the Disclosure and Criminal Reform Act 2015 and the Criminal Jurisdiction and Procedure Act 2015 to modernize the criminal justice system. Provisions include the right to appeal an acquittal on a technicality and to reopen an acquittal in serious cases when new, compelling evidence becomes available. Rights groups criticized a provision requiring a defendant to make a statement to the prosecutor and the court within 28 days of his arraignment if he is going to give evidence at his trial, failing which the court may direct the jury to draw inferences in deciding whether the accused is guilty of the offense charged. There were no prosecutions under any part of the new legislation by year’s end.

Political Prisoners and Detainees

There were no reports of political prisoners or detainees.

Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies

In the UK individuals, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and groups of individuals may seek civil remedies for human rights violations and have the right to appeal to the European Court for Human Rights decisions involving alleged violations by the government of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In Bermuda the Human Rights Tribunal adjudicates complaints.

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

The law prohibits such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:Share    

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The law provides for freedom of speech and press, and the government routinely respected these rights. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combined to promote freedom of speech and press.

Freedom of Speech and Expression: The law prohibits expressions of hatred toward persons on account of their color, race, nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origin, religion, or sexual orientation as well as any communication that is threatening or abusive and is intended to harass, alarm, or bring distress to a person. The penalties for such expressions include fines, imprisonment, or both.

Press and Media Freedoms: The law’s restrictions on expressions of hatred apply to the print and broadcast media. In Bermuda the law prohibits publishing written words that are threatening, abusive, or insulting, but it applies only on racial grounds; on other grounds, including sexual orientation, the law only prohibits discriminatory “notices, signs, symbols, emblems or other representations.”

Internet Freedom

The government did not restrict or disrupt access to the internet or censor online content, and there were no credible reports that the government monitored private online communications without appropriate legal authority.

The government on occasion blocked websites, for example, Bit Torrent file-sharing sites such as Pirate Bay, primarily for hate speech and violations of intellectual property rights. Viewing or posting the following categories of activity on the internet is subject to criminal prosecution: child sexual abuse images hosted anywhere in the world, criminally obscene adult content hosted in the UK, incitement to racial hatred content hosted in the UK, and nonphotographic child sexual abuse images, such as drawings, hosted in the UK.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 91.6 percent of adults (44.7 million individuals) in the UK used the internet January-March.

Academic Freedom and Cultural Events

There were no government restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The law provides for the freedoms of assembly and association, and the government routinely respected these rights.

c. Freedom of Religion

See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report at 2009-2017.state.gov/religiousfreedomreport/.

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government routinely respected these rights. The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and other persons of concern.

In-country Movement: The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act enacted on February 12 lowered the threshold at which the home secretary can impose terrorism prevention and investigation measures (TPIMs) from “a reasonable belief” to a “balance of probabilities.” TPIMs include electronic tagging, reporting regularly to the police, and facing “tightly defined exclusion from particular places and the prevention of travel overseas.” A suspect must live at home and stay there overnight, possibly for up to 10 hours. The suspect may apply to the courts to stay elsewhere. The suspect is allowed to use a mobile phone and the internet, to work and study, subject to conditions. Fewer than 15 individuals were subject to TPIMs.

Emigration and Repatriation: The new Counter-Terrorism and Security Act introduced “Temporary Exclusion Orders” (TEOs), which permit the home secretary administratively to impose on a returning British citizen, or others with a right to live in the UK, certain obligations once back in the UK, such as reporting to a police station. A TEO requires a court order and is subject to judicial oversight; an individual has the right to appeal. A TEO may be imposed if the home secretary reasonably suspects the individual in question is, or has been, involved in terrorism-related activity and reasonably considers it necessary to protect people in the UK from a risk of terrorism. There have been no known impositions of TEOs since the introduction of this new power.

Protection of Refugees

Access to Asylum: In England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees. Bermuda’s constitution and laws do not provide for granting asylum or refugee status, and the government does not have an established a system for providing protection to refugees.

In September, Scottish First Minister Sturgeon criticized the UK government for its response to the Syrian refugee crisis. Sturgeon called on the UK government to increase the number of refugees allowed into the country to 10,000, with Scotland taking at least 1,000 based on its population share. On September 7, Prime Minister David Cameron promised that the UK would accept up to 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020 from camps and elsewhere in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. During the year the government accepted 1,000 individuals.

Safe Country of Origin/Transit: The UK is subject to the EU’s Dublin III regulation and considers all other EU member states, except Greece, to be countries of safe origin or transit. The regulation permits authorities to remove an asylum applicant to another country responsible for adjudicating an applicant’s claim. The government places the burden of proof on asylum seekers who arrive from safe countries of origin, who pass through a country where they are not considered to be at risk, or who remain in the country for a period of time before seeking asylum.

Refoulement: On July 2, Human Rights Watch alleged UK authorities were returning Eritreans to their country in the mistaken belief they would not be persecuted for evading the draft or leaving Eritrea illegally. Between January 1 and the end of March, a record number of 3,552 Eritreans sought asylum in the UK, according to the Home Office.

Refugee Abuse: Home Office officials have the power to detain asylum seekers and unauthorized migrants who do not enter the asylum system. Immigration detention was used to establish a person’s identity or basis of claim, to remove a person from the UK, or to avoid a person’s noncompliance with any conditions attached to a grant of temporary admission/release. Although Home Office policy states that detention should be used sparingly, and for the shortest period necessary, there is neither a maximum time limit for the use of immigration detention in the UK nor automatic judicial oversight of decisions to detain. In response to calls from NGOs and the CPT to introduce a maximum time limit and to enhance existing mechanisms for independent oversight, the Home Office began to review its use of immigration detention and the length of time individuals can spend in detention.

In July the Home Office announced that more than 100 asylum seekers held in immigration detention centers would be released because of the immediate suspension of the Home Office’s fast-track detention system after a court ruled the system unlawful. Their cases were among 800 others under urgent review.

Employment: The government did not allow asylum seekers to work. They received government support at 30 percent below the normal rate for the duration of their asylum application. The government granted an asylum seeker with an upheld claim “refugee status” and the benefits enjoyed by citizens, including employment opportunities.

Durable Solutions: The government granted varying levels of assistance to refused asylum seekers, including return flights and financial assistance.

Temporary Protection: The government may provide temporary protection to individuals who may not qualify as refugees under the categories of humanitarian protection and discretionary leave. In 2014 it granted humanitarian protection to 1,015 persons and subsidiary protection to 105 others.

Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political ProcessShare    

The law provides citizens the ability to choose their government in free and fair periodic elections based on universal and equal suffrage, and citizens exercised that ability.

Elections and Political Participation

Recent Elections: The UK held national parliamentary elections on May 7, while Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland elected their own parliaments in 2011. Bermuda last held elections in 2012. International standards were respected during these elections. There were no reports of abuses or irregularities.

Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in GovernmentShare    

The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, and the government implemented the law effectively. In the UK there were no reports of government corruption during the year.

Corruption: In July documents from the Bermuda Supreme Court leaked to online radio station MAGIC included an affidavit filed on July 2 by Allied Trust and Allied Development Partners Ltd. on behalf of would-be waterfront developer Michael MacLean. MacLean alleged that former premier Member of Parliament (MP) Craig Cannonier, former attorney general MP Mark Pettingill, and Minister of Home Affairs Senator Michael Fahy offered to endorse his lease plans in exchange for bribes for 1 million-5 million Bermudian dollars (BD$), equivalent to $1 million -5 million, each. Premier Dunkley and the accused vehemently denied the allegations. The BPS investigated, but there were no charges at the end of the year.

Financial Disclosure: All MPs are required to disclose their financial interests. The Register of Members’ Interests is available online and updated regularly. These public disclosures include paid employment, property ownership, shareholdings in public or private companies, and other interests that “might reasonably be thought to influence” the member in any way. The Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, the Northern Ireland Assembly, and the Bermudian Parliament have similar codes of conduct for members. Under the ministerial code issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, ministers must follow standards of conduct, including the disclosure of gifts and travel. The UK publishes the names, grades, job titles, and annual pay rates for most civil servants with salaries greater than 150,000 pounds ($225,000). Government departments publish the business expenses of and hospitality received by their most senior officials.

Public Access to Information: The law provides for public access to information, and authorities routinely granted access to citizens and noncitizens, including foreign media. Authorities implemented the law effectively.

In Scotland the law gives everyone the right to ask for any information held by a Scottish public authority. The Scottish Information Commissioner is responsible for enforcing and promoting this legislation and implemented the law effectively. The commissioner sometimes responded to requests late.

Bermuda began implementing public access to information legislation on April 1. The government responded to, or was in the process of responding to, 75 requests as of the middle of December.

Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human RightsShare    

A wide variety of domestic and international human rights groups operated without government restriction, investigating and publishing their findings of human rights cases. Government officials were routinely cooperative and responsive to their views.

Government Human Rights Bodies: Parliament has a Joint Committee on Human Rights composed of 12 members selected from the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The committee investigates human rights matters in the country and scrutinizes legislation affecting human rights. It may call for testimony from government officials, who routinely comply.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is an independent, nondepartmental public body that promotes and monitors human rights and protects, enforces, and promotes equality across nine “protected” grounds: age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, sexual orientation, and gender reassignment. The sponsoring department is the Government Equalities Office. The commission was well funded and was considered effective.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, sponsored by the Northern Ireland Office, and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, sponsored by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, monitored human rights in that province. These entities were adequately funded and considered to be effective.

In Bermuda the Human Rights Commission administers the law regarding human rights. In Bermuda the Human Rights Commission is an independent body that effectively administers the law regarding human rights by the investigation and resolution of complaints lodged to it; its funding is adequate.

Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in PersonsShare    

UK law prohibits discrimination based on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, disability, language, sexual orientation, or social status, and the government routinely enforced the law effectively.

Bermudian law protects against discrimination because of race, place of origin, color, or ethnic or national origins, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, family status, religion or beliefs, political opinion, and, except where the nature of the an offense justifies different treatment, criminal record. Elderly persons are also a protected class in the areas of goods, facilities, services, and accommodations but not in employment. The law does not protect against discrimination of persons with mental, learning, and cognitive disabilities.


Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape, spousal rape, and domestic violence. The maximum legal penalty for rape is life imprisonment. The law also provides for injunctive relief, personal protection orders, and protective exclusion orders (similar to restraining orders) for female victims of violence. The government enforced the law effectively in reported cases. Courts in some cases imposed the maximum punishment for rape. According to the ONS, in 2014 police recorded 58,954 sexual offenses, of which 29,265 were for rape, a 37 percent increase over the previous year and the highest level since the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in 2002/03. Improvements in recording and a greater willingness of victims to come forward to report such crimes were thought to be the main causes for the higher numbers. The government provided shelters, counseling, and other assistance for survivors of rape or violence in the UK and Northern Ireland. It offered free legal aid to battered women who were economically dependent on their abusers.

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): The law prohibits FGM/C in the UK. It is also illegal to take abroad a British national or permanent resident for FGM/C, or to help someone trying to do this. The penalty is up to 14 years in prison. The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 was amended during the year to include FGM Protection Orders. An FGM Protection Order is a civil measure that can be applied for through a family court. It offers the means of protecting actual or potential victims from FGM/C under the civil law. Breach of an FGM Protection Order is a criminal offense carrying a sentence of up to five years in prison.

Since September 2014, hospital providers have been obligated to collect data on all incidents of FGM/C for the Female Genital Mutilation Prevalence Dataset, including those already being treated and new cases. Since October general practice doctors must also report suspected cases. For the period of September 2014 to March 2015, 3,963 newly identified cases of FGM/C were reported, 60 newly identified cases were under the age of 18. According to the government, the UK communities most at risk included the Kenyan, Somali, Sudanese, Sierra Leonean, Egyptian, Nigerian, and Eritrean. Non-African communities that practiced FGM/C included the Yemeni, Afghani, Kurdish, Indonesian, and Pakistani. Official reports stated that it was difficult to tell when or where FGM/C occurred.

Sexual Harassment: The law criminalizes sexual harassment. No further information was available.

Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the right to decide the number, spacing, and timing of their children; to manage their reproductive health; and to have access to the information and means to do so, free from discrimination, coercion, or violence.

Discrimination: The law provides the same legal status and rights for women as for men, including under family, labor, property, nationality, and inheritance laws. Women were subject to some discrimination in employment (see section 7.d.).


Birth Registration: A child born in the UK receives the country’s citizenship at birth if one of the parents is a UK citizen or a legally settled resident. Children born in Northern Ireland may opt for UK, Irish, or dual citizenship. A child born in an overseas territory is a UK overseas territories citizen if at least one of the child’s parents has citizenship. There are special provisions for granting citizenship to persons who might otherwise be stateless. All births must be registered within 42 days in the district where the baby was born, and unregistered births were uncommon.

Child Abuse: According to the charitable NGO National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), more than 30,000 allegations of sexual offenses against children, including rape, assault and grooming offenses, were made to police forces in England and Wales in 2014/15.

In Scotland there were 3,742 recorded sexual offenses against children in 2013/14. This was a rate of 3.4 sexual offenses per 1,000 children under age 16.

The PSNI recorded 1,575 cases of abuse against a person under the age of 18 in Northern Ireland in 2014-15. As of June, 141 children were on the child protection register in Northern Ireland because of sexual abuse. The Historic Institutional Abuse Inquiry continued to investigate 524 reports from victims of child abuse in 16 religious and government-run care homes and reformatory institutions in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 1995.

Social service departments in each local authority area in the country maintained confidential child protection registers containing details of children at risk of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or neglect. The registers also included child protection plans for each child. According to the NSPCC, at the end of March 2014 there were 56,231 children on child protection registers or subject to child protection plans in the UK. In Scotland as of July 2014, there were 2,882 children on child protection registers. In Northern Ireland as of June 2015, there were 2,010 children on child protection registers.

In January the Foreign and Commonwealth Office reported widespread sexual abuse of children on the island of St. Helena. Its report had found a culture of acceptance of child abuse and alleged a number of serial child sex offenders and serial victims lived on the island. Sexual maturity, rather than age of consent, was the de facto basis in determining what was acceptable for sexual relations on the island.

Early and Forced Marriage: The minimum legal age for marriage in the UK is 16. In England and Wales, persons under 18 and not previously married require the written consent of the parents or guardians, and the underage person must present a birth certificate. During the year forcing a UK citizen into marriage anywhere in the world became a criminal offense in England and Wales. The new law provides for a maximum prison sentence of seven years. In Scotland persons between 16 and 18 do not need parental consent to be married. In Northern Ireland persons under 18 need parental consent “or if appropriate an order of a court dispensing with consent.” In Bermuda the minimum age for marriage is 18.

The government’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) operated a helpline providing confidential support and advice to victims and professionals and conducted a nationwide outreach program with schools, social services, and police. In 2014 the FMU gave advice or support to 1,267 cases, 79 percent of which involved female victims. More than 10 percent involved victims with disabilities and 11 percent of cases involved victims under the age of 16.

In June a man was sentenced to 16 years in prison for making a 25-year-old woman marry him under duress, the first ever to be jailed under the forced marriage laws introduced in 2014. The same month, Respond, a UK-based charity supporting persons with learning disabilities affected by trauma and abuse, launched My Life, My Marriage, a project aimed at challenging the practice of forcing marriage on persons with learning disabilities.

In Scotland the law provides for protection against forced marriage without free and full consent and for protecting persons who have been forced into marriage without such consent. The legal minimum age to enter into a marriage in Scotland is 16 and does not require parental consent.

The minimum age for marriage in Bermuda is 16 for both girls and boys.

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): See information for girls under 18 in women’s section above.

Sexual Exploitation of Children: The penalties for sexual offenses against children and the commercial sexual exploitation of children range up to life imprisonment. Released persons convicted of sexual offenses must register with police and notify police any time they change their name or address, or travel outside the UK.

Authorities identified 2,340 potential trafficking victims from 96 countries in 2014 compared with 1,746 potential victims in 2013. Of these, 29 percent were children.

The minimum age of consensual sex in the UK is 16. In Bermuda the legal minimum age for consensual sex is 16 for heterosexuals and lesbians and 18 for gay men.

International Child Abductions: The UK including Bermuda is party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Due to its distinct and separate legal system, Scotland has an independent body for handling Hague Convention cases and communicates directly with Hague Convention authorities. For information see the Department of State’s report on compliance at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html and country-specific information at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/country/united-kingdom.html.


The 2011 census recorded the Jewish population of the UK as 263,346.

The NGO Community Security Trust (CST) recorded 473 anti-Semitic incidents across the UK in the first six months of the year, a 53-percent increase over the first six months of 2014. The increase was most pronounced during the first three months of the year and may have reflected an increase in the reporting of anti-Semitic incidents due to raised communal concern about anti-Semitism following the attacks in Paris and Copenhagen, rather than a significant increase in incidents. The CST recorded 88 anti-Semitic incidents on social media, comprising 19 percent of the total. The CST recorded 44 violent anti-Semitic assaults, double the 22 incidents of this type recorded during the comparable period in 2014. These incidents, two of which were categorized as “extreme violence,” made up 9 percent of the total.

On January 26, Baroness Jenny Tonge tabled a written question in the House of Lords asking whether the government would “plan to encourage Jewish faith leaders in the United Kingdom publicly to condemn settlement building by Israel and to make clear their support for universal human rights.” She said British Jews must condemn Israel if they want to avoid increased expressions of anti-Semitism. Tonge sits in the House of Lords as an independent peer after the Liberal Democrats expelled her from the party in 2013 for commenting that, “Israel would not be there forever,” and then refusing to apologize. In 2010 she received criticism for comments that invoked blood libels.

On March 23, a mob broke into the Ahavas Torah synagogue in London, where worshippers were marking the end of the Sabbath, shouting “Kill the Jews,” assaulting at least one man, smashing windows, and vandalizing the building. Scotland Yard arrested six individuals in connection with the attack.

On July 4, a Jewish teenager was seriously injured in an attack at a tram stop in northern Manchester. Police believed comments made during the attack were anti-Semitic and were investigating it as a hate crime.

Trafficking in Persons

In July the Modern Day Slavery Bill became law. The new law introduces trafficking reparation orders to encourage the courts to use seized assets to compensate victims and prevention orders to restrict the activities of potential slave masters. Since October thousands of the UK’s biggest firms must reveal whether they have taken action to ensure they do not use child or slave labor (see section 7.b.).

See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at 2009-2017.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.

Persons with Disabilities

The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment, education, air travel and other transportation, access to health care, or the provision of other government services. The government effectively enforced the law.

In 2014 the NGO National Autism Society reported that, of 800 respondents in its survey, 81 percent had experienced verbal abuse and 47 percent had been the victim of physical assaults (see also section 6, Early and Forced Marriage).

In May official government figures released under a FOIA request showed that 4,748 adults with disabilities reported being sexually abused in the last two years--two-thirds of the total sexual abuse cases reported.

Bermudian law protects the rights of persons with disabilities in the workplace. The law does not include any protection from discrimination on the grounds of mental health.

From March 2014 through March 2015, in Scotland there were 177 recorded crimes connected to disability, an increase of 20 percent from the previous year. The PSNI recorded 78 hate crimes connected to disability from July 2014 through June 2015, an increase of 12 crimes from the previous year. The mandate of the EHRC includes work on behalf of persons with disabilities to stop discrimination and promote equality of opportunity. The EHRC provided legal advice and support to individuals, a hotline for persons with disabilities and employers, and policy advice to the government. It may also conduct formal investigations, arrange conciliation, require persons or organizations to adopt action plans to ensure compliance with the law, and apply for injunctions to prevent acts of unlawful discrimination.

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The law prohibits racial and ethnic discrimination, but Travellers, Roma, and persons of African, Afro-Caribbean, South Asian, and Middle Eastern origin at times reported mistreatment on racial or ethnic grounds. In January the High Court ruled the government had illegally discriminated against Travellers by unlawfully subjecting planning applications from Roma and Travellers to special scrutiny.

In England and Wales, police recorded 52,528 hate crimes in 2014-15, an increase of 18 percent compared with the previous year. Of these, 37,484 (84 percent) were race hate crimes. In 2013-14 Scottish police recorded 3,785 race crimes, a 9 percent decrease from the previous year and the lowest number recorded since 2003-04. In October a University of Strathclyde study found that one in three of the 500 black and minority ethnic Scots surveyed had experienced discrimination. In Northern Ireland from July 2014 to June 2015, the PSNI recorded 884 hate crimes connected to racism, an increase of 82 crimes from the previous year.

In Bermuda arrests of black persons were disproportionately high. In 2014, 87 percent (2,144) of 2,456 persons arrested were black (excluding mixed race). According to the 2010 census, 54 percent of all residents described themselves as black. Among the Bermudian population, excluding foreign residents, 63 percent were black.

Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

In Bermuda the legal minimum age for consensual sex is 16 for lesbians and 18 for gay men. On August 28, the Bermuda Human Rights Tribunal found that it could not deliver a “just verdict” in a 2014 case where a man posted derogatory comments (“I hate your kind.”) on Facebook about a transvestite bus driver. The Tribunal stated that the Human Rights Act (HRA) applies only on racial grounds. On other grounds, the law only prohibits discriminatory “notices, signs, symbols, emblems or other representations.” The Human Rights Commission also recommended that Parliament amend the HRA to provide a broader definition or section on gender that would include a range of transgender classifications. It pointed out that the question of whether there is protection against the discrimination of transsexual, transgender, or other persons who do not fit the traditional classification of male or female has not yet been tested in Bermuda.

In Bermuda during September, a number of well attended public meetings discussed same-sex marriage, which is prohibited in Bermuda. One foreign speaker made derogatory remarks about lesbian, gay, transgender, and intersex persons and same-sex marriage, and the government subsequently prohibited that person from traveling to Bermuda in the future.

The law in England and Wales prohibits discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, although individuals reported sporadic incidents of homophobic violence. It encourages judges to impose a greater sentence in assault cases where the victim’s sexual orientation was a motive for the hostility, and many local police forces demonstrated an increasing awareness of the problem and trained officers to identify and moderate these attacks. From 2014 to 2015, police in England and Wales recorded 5,597 hate crimes related to sexual orientation and 605 transgender hate crimes.

In Scotland racial, sexual, or other discriminatory motivation may be an “aggravating factor” in crimes. Scottish law also criminalizes behavior that is threatening, hateful, or otherwise offensive at a regulated soccer match and penalizes any threat of serious violence and threats to incite religious hatred through the mail or the internet. Crime aggravated by sexual orientation was the second most common type of hate crime, with 841 charges reported in 2014-15 a decrease from 890 in 2013-14. Between March 2014 and March 2015, 21 charges were reported in Scotland with an aggravation of prejudice relating to transgender identity.

The PSNI recorded 196 hate crimes related to homophobia and 10 transphobic crimes in Northern Ireland from July 2014 to June 2015. In April, Health Minister Jim Wells stepped down following homophobic statements. In October a court convicted an Ashers bakery of discrimination for refusing an order from a gay customer and was ordered to pay 500 pounds ($750) in damages to the individual.

Other Societal Violence or Discrimination

Offenses linked to victims’ religion increased by 43 percent from 2013-14 to 3,254. Of the 5,591 hate crimes Police Scotland recorded in 2014-15, there were 569 charges with a religious aggravation. The PSNI recorded 30 hate crimes motivated by religion from July 2014 to June 2015, an increase of 20 crimes from the previous year. During the same period, the PSNI recorded 1,080 sectarian crimes in Northern Ireland, an increase of 49. The number of sectarian incidents rose to 1,547, an increase of 171 incidents.

In October the prime minister announced that he would require police forces in England and Wales to record anti-Muslim hate crimes and to treat them as seriously as anti-Semitic attacks. At present the NGO “Tell Mama” project, which works closely with the CST, is the main unofficial source of statistics on anti-Muslim hate crime.

Section 7. Worker RightsShare    

a. Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining

The law provides for the right of workers to form and join independent unions, bargain collectively, and conduct legal strikes. The government generally respected these rights. The law prohibits antiunion discrimination but does not require reinstatement of workers fired for union activity.

The law does not cover workers in the armed forces, public-sector security services, police forces, and freelance or temporary work. The law excludes workers serving in the police, the prison service, and the armed forces from the right to strike. According to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the right to strike in the UK is “limited” due to prohibitions against political and solidarity strikes, lengthy procedures for calling strikes, and the ability of employers to seek injunctions against unions before a strike has begun if the union does not observe all proper steps in organizing the strike.

The government enforced applicable laws. Remedies were limited in situations where workers faced reprisal for union activity, and the ITUC stated that the law does not provide “adequate means of protection against antiunion discrimination,” and noted that legal protections against unfair labor practices only exist within the framework of organizing a recognition ballot. Penalties range from employers paying compensation to reinstatement and were sufficient to deter violations.

The government and employers generally respected freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. Unions and management typically negotiated collective “agreements,” which were less formal and not legally enforceable. The terms of the agreement could, however, then be incorporated into an individual work contract with legal standing.

The law does not allow independent trade unions to apply for derecognition of in-house company unions or to protect individual workers seeking to do so. Labor-market surveys suggested that employers expanded the practice of “zero-hour contracts” in which workers are required to be available but are not guaranteed any minimum work hours, which potentially eroded independent trade union membership and further limited worker rights.

Various labor NGOs advocated for worker’s rights freely within the UK and acted independently from trade unions, although often advocacy problems overlapped. NGOs advocated for improvements in paid family leave, a minimum/living wage, and worker safety among other problems.

b. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The law prohibits forced and compulsory labor, but such practices occurred. The Modern Day Slavery Law, enacted in March, introduces trafficking reparation orders to encourage the courts to use seized assets to compensate victims and prevention orders to restrict the activities of potential slave masters. From October, thousands of Britain’s biggest firms must now reveal whether they have taken action to ensure they do not use child or slave labor (see section 6, Trafficking in Persons). More than 12,000 firms with a turnover of 36 million pounds ($54 million) are required to publish an annual statement setting out what steps they are taking to ensure that slave labor is not being used.

The government generally enforced these laws effectively. Resources and inspections were generally adequate and were sufficiently stringent compared with other sentences for serious crimes.

Victims of forced labor included men, women, and children. Migrant workers were subject to forced labor in agriculture, construction, food processing, and service industries (especially nail salons), and on fishing boats. Women employed as domestic workers were particularly vulnerable to forced labor. NGOs noted that the UK’s work visa system ties the employee to the employer even when they are subject to abuse, making victims of exploitation potentially reluctant to come forward.

In Bermuda the Department of Immigration and the Director of Public Prosecutions confirmed there were no cases of forced labor during the year, although historically there were some cases of forced labor, mostly involving migrants, among men in the construction sector and women in domestic service. The media did not report any cases of forced labor or worker exploitation in 2014 or the first half of the year. The law requires employers to repatriate work-permit holders. Failure to do so had been a migrant complaint. The cases of worker exploitation largely consisted of employers requiring workers to work longer hours or to perform work outside the scope of their work permit. The Department of Immigration imposed civil penalties in approximately eight such cases. The penalties for ‎employing someone outside the scope of their work permit are BD$5,000 ($5,000) for the first offense and BD$10,000 ($10,000) for the second or subsequent offenses.

Also see the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at 2009-2017.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.

c. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

UK law prohibits the employment of children under the age of 13 with exceptions for sports, modeling, and paid performances. The law prohibits those under 16 from working in an industrial enterprise, including transportation or street trading. Children’s work hours are strictly limited and may not interfere with school attendance. Different legislation governs the employment of persons under 16, and, while some laws are common across the UK, local bylaws vary. Children between the ages of 13 and 16 must apply for a work permit from a local authority, if local bylaws require, and the local authority’s education and welfare services have primary responsibility for oversight and enforcement of the permits. The authorities effectively enforced applicable laws.

The departments of health, trade, industry, education, and skills have regulatory responsibilities related to child labor.

In Bermuda children under the age of 13 may perform light work of an agricultural, horticultural, or domestic character if the parent or guardian is the employer. Schoolchildren may not work during school hours or more than two hours on school days. No child under 15 may work in any industrial undertaking, other than light work, or on any vessel, other than a vessel where only family members work. Children under 18 may not work at night, except that those ages 16 to 18 may work until midnight; employers must arrange for safe conduct home for women between ages 16 and 18 working until midnight. Penalties for violations of the law begin at BD$350 ($350) for the first offense and BD$720 ($720) for the second and subsequent offenses. The BPS reported no cases of child labor or exploitation of children during the year. The penalty for willfully abusing, mistreating, neglecting, deserting, or abandoning a child is a fine not exceeding BD$3,000 ($3,000) or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.

Labor laws do not set a minimum age for work in the territories of St. Helena-Ascension-Tristan da Cunha. The government of the British Virgin Islands has not developed a list of hazardous occupations prohibited by children, and it is unclear whether a comprehensive list of hazardous occupations exists for children in St. Helena-Ascension-Tristan da Cunha and Monserrat.

There are legislative gaps in the prohibition of trafficking in children for labor exploitation and the use of children for commercial sexual exploitation in St. Helena-Ascension-Tristan da Cunha. While criminal laws prohibit trafficking in children for sexual exploitation, they do not address trafficking in children for labor exploitation.

It is unclear whether the laws in Monserrat prohibit the use of children in illicit activities such as drug trafficking, begging, theft, or burglary.

Traffickers subjected children to commercial sexual exploitation in Anguilla and Turks and Caicos.

Also see the Department of Labor’s Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor at www.dol.gov/ilab/reports/child-labor/findings/ for information on UK territories.

d. Discrimination with Respect to Employment and Occupation

The law prohibits discrimination in employment or occupation regarding race, sex, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The government effectively enforced these laws and regulations. Discrimination in employment and occupation occurred with respect to race, gender, and sexual orientation and gender identity (see section 6).

The law requires equal pay for equal work. Its stated aims are to improve equality and reduce discrimination and disadvantage for all, at work, in public and political life, and in a person’s life opportunities. A study by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) found that Britain’s gender pay gap is widest at the top of the corporate ladder, where female directors earn one-tenth less on average than their male counterparts. Further down the pay scale, the gaps were smaller. Among “professional level” employees, the gender pay gap was between 2 and 3.5 percent. This finding was similar to the Office for National Statistics’ annual estimate of the average gender pay gap, which was a record low of 19.1 percent in 2014, down from 27.5 percent in 1997. Both the ONS and the CMI data suggested the pay gap was far smaller among younger workers. Women in the CMI survey ages 26-35 were paid 6 percent less than their male colleagues, rising to a fifth for women ages 36-45. The gap increased to more than a third for women ages 46-60, and to 38 percent for workers in their 60s.

In September an employment tribunal found that Surrey and Sussex Police department unlawfully discriminated against police marksman Bruce Shields on disability grounds when it removed the officer from his firearm duties for failing a newly introduced hearing test. The court stated that throughout his 16-year career, Shields was “repeatedly assessed very positively” and that there was no evidence that the officer’s partial hearing loss had caused “any operational difficulty or issue.”

In September a woman was awarded nearly 184,000 pounds ($276,000) compensation in one of the UK’s first claims of caste discrimination. Permila Tirkey was recruited from India, based on her low caste in Hindu society, and kept in domestic servitude by her employers in Milton Keynes. Tirkey alleged that her employers forced her to work 18 hours per day, seven days a week for 11 pence ($0.17) per hour. The Legal Aid Agency initially refused to fund her representation for 17 months on the grounds that her case was not of “sufficient importance or seriousness” and that it was “only a claim for money.”

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

On October 1, the minimum wage increased from 6.50 pounds ($9.75) to 6.70 pounds ($10.05) for individuals 21 and over, from 5.13 pounds ($7.70) to 5.30 pounds ($7.95) for individuals between 18 and 20, from 3.79 pounds ($5.70) to 3.87 pounds ($5.80) for individuals under 18, and from 2.73 pounds ($4.10) to 3.30 pounds ($4.95) for an apprentice.

The government measures the poverty level as income less than 60 percent of the median household income, thus the poverty line moves with the median income year to year. In 2010-11, the most recent period for which data was available, the poverty level for households was an income of 215 pounds ($323) per week. Tax authorities may issue compliance orders against employers who are not paying the minimum wage, but employment tribunals handle disputes. The government monitored employers’ compliance with minimum wage law.

The law limits the workweek to 48 hours when averaged over a 17- to 26-week period. The law provides for one day of rest per week, 11 hours of daily rest, and a 20-minute rest break when the working day exceeds six hours. The law also mandates a minimum of four weeks of paid annual leave, including eight national holidays. As part of collective agreements, however, almost all workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday per year, while an employer can choose to include bank holidays as part of a worker’s statutory annual leave. An individual employee may agree by contract to work overtime for premium pay. The law does not prohibit compulsory overtime, but it limits overtime to the 48-hour workweek restriction. The law stipulates that employers may not place the health and safety of employees at risk. The 48-hour workweek regulations do not apply to senior managers and others who can exercise control over their own hours of work. There are also exceptions for the armed forces, emergency services, police, domestic workers, sea and air transportation workers, and fishermen. The law allows workers to opt out of the 48-hour limit. There are exceptions for airline staff, delivery drivers, security guards, and workers on ships or boats. The government set appropriate occupational safety and health standards.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), an arm of the Department of Work and Pensions, effectively enforced occupational health and safety laws. It conducted workplace inspections and may initiate criminal proceedings. HSE inspectors enforced health and safety standards by giving advice on how to comply with the law. Employers may also be ordered to make improvements, either through an improvement notice, which allows time for the recipient to comply, or a prohibition notice, which prohibits an activity until remedial action has been taken. The HSE issued notices to companies and individuals for breaches of health and safety law. The notice may involve one or more instances when the recipient has failed to comply with health and safety law, each of which was called a “breach.” The HSE prosecuted recipients for noncompliance with a notice. In 2014 the HSE prosecuted 582 cases in England and Wales; local authorities in England and Wales prosecuted 92 cases, while the procurator fiscal in Scotland prosecuted 35 cases. In Northern Ireland from April 2014 to March 2015, there were seven successful prosecutions with fines totaling slightly more than 129,500 pounds ($194,500). The HSENI (Northern Ireland) also made 5,993 inspections and served more than 177 formal enforcement notices.

According to the HSE’s annual report for 2014-15, the provisional estimate of workers fatally injured in the UK was 142, more than the 133 fatalities reported for the same period in the previous year. There were 78,000 reported nonfatal injuries to employees. Workers can remove themselves from situations that endangered health or safety without jeopardy to their employment and authorities effectively protected employees in this situation. There is an HSENI specifically for Northern Ireland. It reported that during April 2014 to March 2015 there were 23 fatalities, compared with eight in the previous year. Reportable injuries were 2,263, a 1-percent increase from the previous year.

Bermuda’s law does not provide for a minimum wage, but the Department of Labor and Training enforces any contractually agreed wage. The law requires that work in excess of 40 hours per week be paid at the overtime rate or with compensatory time off; employees may waive rights to overtime pay. The law also requires that employees have a rest period of at least 24 consecutive hours per week. It provides for paid public holidays and two weeks’ paid annual leave. Regulations enforced by the Department of Labor and Training extensively cover the safety of the work environment. Between January and September, one industrial injury was reported.