Photo: Jessica Taylor/Reuters
After a warning that the bill of rights “shifts the balance in favor of the state” and seriously undermines people’s ability to enforce their rights, Rishi Sunak is urged to abandon the government’s attempt to overhaul controversial human rights legislation.
A cross-party committee of MPs and colleagues said the bill, which would replace the Human Rights Act, which sanctified the UK’s European convention on human rights, showed the UK had “disregarded” its international legal obligations and would lead to more lawsuits. He goes to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg.
Ministers said the bill aims to prevent abuses of the existing system. But parliament’s joint human rights committee said this would create new obstacles and make it harder for people to exercise their rights inside and outside the courts.
“The government should not pursue this bill,” the committee said. “It weakens rights protections, undermines the universality of rights, and ignores our international legal obligations; creates legal uncertainty and hinders effective enforcement; It will lead to an increased caseload in Strasbourg and damage our international reputation as protectors of human rights.”
First introduced by Dominic Raab, deputy prime minister and justice minister, under Boris Johnson, the bill of rights was dropped when Liz Truss became prime minister and sacked Raab, but was revived when the Altar entered number 10 and Raab was reappointed to replace her. previous role
When Altar appeared before the House of Commons liaison committee last month, he refused to commit to a parliamentary timetable to enact it.
The human rights committee said there was somewhat broader support for the proposed changes, with survivors of violence against women, nursing home residents and their family members losing their lives due to actions by the police or other state actors, among those raised. objections.
He expressed concern that the bill would require courts to ignore safeguards that protect people in “emergency situations” where there is a credible risk to life or torture or inhuman or degrading treatment.
It will also have an impact on the need for public authorities to take action to protect rights, such as conducting effective investigations into loss of life, as with the Hillsborough investigations.
Committee chairwoman Joanna Cherry said the bill “removes and restricts certain human rights protections that the government does not find appropriate, and introduces a restrictive approach to the interpretation and application of the European human rights convention in the courts of our domestic legal systems.”
He said if it takes effect in its current form, it will result in “more obstacles to the enforcement of human rights, more lawsuits against Strasbourg and more negative decisions against the United Kingdom”.
A Justice Department spokesperson said: “The Bill of Rights builds on the UK’s proud tradition of freedom by strengthening freedom of expression, reinjecting a healthy dose of common sense into the system and ending the abuse of our laws.”