The Human Rights Act 1998 is an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom which became law in October 2000. Its aim was to incorporate into UK law ALL the rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights.
However, the United Kingdom government is now planning to make changes to this act.
A three-month consultation is now expected to be launched on the proposed changes to the Human Rights Act, which ultimately enshrines the European Convention on Human Rights into UK domestic law.
Under the proposals, a “permission stage” may be introduced to the act which would mean that any claims found to be “frivolous or false” would be blocked.
Civil liberties campaigners all across the world are warning that the rights of ordinary people will be weakened by these proposals which were announced by Justice Secretary Dominic Raab today.
Indeed, campaigners have described these proposed changes as both ‘dangerous‘ and “a blatant unashamed power grab from a government that wants to put themselves above the law”
This article outlines the views of those speaking For and Against these proposals.
Mr Raab says that by updating the UKs existing Human Rights laws the proposed changes will prevent;
“Abuses of the system made by foreign criminals who can exploit our existing human rights laws to avoid deportation.”
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) stated that the intended reforms would allow judges to override rulings from the European court of human rights, rather than following them “blindly”.
According to the Ministry of Justice this overhaul will “allow more scope” for the UK Government to decide how to interpret any appeal rulings made by the European Court of Human Rights.
On laws affecting the UK the MoJ said in a statement that the measures would;
“Restore Parliament’s role as the ultimate decision-maker and strike a proper balance between individuals’ rights, personal responsibility and the wider public interest”.
The MoJ also said that its plans would help stop the UK being exploited by the people-smugglers who are facilitating dangerous small boat crossings of the English channel.
However they also confirmed that the UK would remain a party to the European convention on human rights.
Opposing the measures the president of the Law Society, Stephanie Boyce, said any changes to the Human Rights Act should be led by evidence and not driven by political rhetoric.
“British judges deliver British justice based on British laws, looking closely at how judgments fit into the national context, and disapplying them if there is good reason to do so. UK courts do not, as government suggests, ‘blindly’ follow case law from the European court of human rights.
Equally, foreign criminals already can be deported in the public interest even where there are arguments against this from the right to family life. Every case is different, making it necessary to weigh each on its own particulars.
Talk of restricting rights is dangerous and does not reflect the nuanced job the courts have to do.”
In their statement the human rights group Liberty accused the government of;
“Systematically shutting down all avenues of accountability through a succession of rushed and oppressive Bills”.
Martha Spurrier, the organisation’s director, said the Human Rights Act was an “essential law” that allowed public authorities to be challenged “when they get it wrong” and has helped “secure justice on everything from the right to life to the right to free speech”.
She went on to say;
“This plan to reform the Human Rights Act is a blatant, unashamed power grab from a government that wants to put themselves above the law.
They are quite literally rewriting the rules in their favour so they become untouchable.
The Human Rights Act protects all of us. We lose it at our peril.”
For it’s part Amnesty International were equally critical of the governments proposed measures with their chief executive Sacha Deshmukh saying:
” Human rights are not sweets ministers can pick and choose from and this aggressive attempt to roll-back the laws must be stopped.
If ministers move ahead with plans to water down the Human Rights Act and override judgments with which they disagree, they risk aligning themselves with authoritarian regimes around the world.”
The Labour party‘s shadow justice secretary, Steve Reed, said;
“Labour will oppose the Human Rights Act being ripped to shreds by a Conservative government planning to endanger the public by changing the rules to protect themselves.”
Sources from within GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 have said that senior figures within their departments have warned the UK government that;
“The government’s politicised changes to human rights law could make the UK less safe by making it more difficult to fight terrorism”.
Now ponder on the following questions.
- Can the UK government be believed when they claim that up to 70% of successful human rights challenges are brought by foreign national offenders who had all cited a ‘right to family life‘ when appealing against deportation orders?
- If these changes were to become law can the UK government be trusted not to ‘slip in’ any future amendments which will further restrict our human rights?
We believe the answer to both those questions is a resounding NO!
We leave you now with a video full of messages. The song is Everybody Knows sung by the late great Leonard Cohen.
We hope you enjoyed the article, thanks for visiting. Come back soon.
Editor: Rambling in Pen