1. Sign the Amnesty International pledge HERE.
2. Send a direct message via BIHR to the Commissioners HERE.
3. Sign the Change.org petition calling for a referendum on the Act HERE.
4. Sign the 38 Degrees letter to Michael Gove HERE.
5. Spread the word – we need EVERYONE to know this is happening.
In their manifesto, the Conservative Party state that they intend to scrap the Human Rights Act – a crucial piece of legislation that safeguards basic human rights for citizens of the United Kingdom and covers all the rights included in the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). It also ensures public bodies – including the government, are called to account in light of any breaches.
The law came into force in the UK under a Labour government in 2000 and meant that firstly, individuals could take cases of human right breaches to British courts instead of having to wait for an already inundated European Court of Human Rights to hear them out, and secondly, that all public bodies – not just the central government, but institutions like the police, NHS, and local councils – had to abide by these laws.
Michael Gove, the newly appointed Justice Secretary has been appointed as the lead in scrapping the Human Rights Act, and has been given 100 days in which to produce a report on whether or not it should be kept.
WHAT DOES THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT PROTECT?
- Right to life
- Right not to be tortured or subjected to inhumane treatment
- Right not to be held as a slave
- Right to liberty and security
- Right to a fair trial
- Right not be retrospectively convicted for a crime
- Right to a private and family life
- Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion
- Right to freedom of expression
- Right to freedom of assembly and association
- Right to marriage
- Right not to be discriminated against
- Right to the peaceful enjoyment of one’s property
- Right to an education.
The Act also imposes a duty upon governments to provide free and fair elections. Under the ECHR agreement, all countries in Europe are expected to respect these human rights.
It was drawn up in 1950 in the aftermath of the Second World War and spearheaded by Britain, with the UK acting as a founding signatory which ratified the Convention in March 1951.
WHY DO THE CONSERVATIVES WANT TO SCRAP THE ACT?
But according to their manifesto, they aim to replace the Act with a ‘British Bill of Rights’ which will “break the formal link between British Courts and the European Court of Human Rights”. Why they want to break that link remains a mystery. They have also not made clear whether their proposed new Bill of Rights will continue the obligation on public authorities that are not part of central government to uphold human rights too.
What this ACTUALLY means is that anyone who wants to bring a human right case under the ECHR will have to go to a court in Strasbourg to be heard: this will not only significantly slow down such cases but make them more difficult and costly to bring.
It also means women and children trafficked and abused under the current system will have even less recourse to protection or action, even if they are lucky enough to escape their situations and access the help of an organisation.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
1. Sign ALL the petitions cited above for Amnesty International, BIHR and Change.org.
2. “Like” the Human Rights Act facebook page HERE and keep up to date with the latest developments.
3. Spread the word and make as many people aware of this situation as possible.
NOW is the time to act – once the Act is gone, it will be too late.