Human Rights Act … So long.
I really don’t seem to be able to get over this one. The more I try, the harder my blood boils.
As highlighted in page 58 of the Conservative manifesto for 2015 election (click here to download), the government is going to abolish the Human Rights Act 1998, and subsequently our membership to the European Court of Human Rights. I find it exceedingly ironic, and utterly horrific that in the 21st century, in the heart of Europe, some of the citizens of this country are actually fighting to deprive themselves of these rights, or legal protection thereof:
- right to life,
- right not to get tortured,
- right not to be enslaved,
- right to a fair trial,
- right not to be punished if you haven’t broken the law,
- right to private family life,
- right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion,
- right to freedom of speech and expression,
- right to assembly, association and demonstration,
- right to marry and start a family,
- right to peaceful enjoyment of properties,
- right to protection from discrimination in respect of these rights and freedoms,
- right to education,
- right to free elections,
- right NOT to be given to death penalty.
Wasn’t LASPO Act 2012 enough? What’s next? Colonising Guantanamo bay?
Here are a few comments I have encountered these days whilst discussing this topic here and there:
It is abused.
So what? Are you saying no legislation passed in the UK has ever been abused? Say freedom of speech. Has it never been abused? Shall we get rid of that too and ask Islamic State to direct us on this matter?
We had these rights before ECHR.
Did we indeed? Through Magna Carta? You mean the document that gave the rights to the elite and thereby implied that the country is for the monarch, and the elite (the feudalists and priests)?
Who protected these rights? The House of Lords, with hereditary membership? Or the government who legislates whenever it is challenged in a court? Have you any idea how many lives have been saved as a result of these protections? How many brutalities interrupted?
So you’re saying it’s okay to share your entire private life with another government, but not okay for impartial, independent judges of our (Judge Paul Mahoney) as well as other nations (one from each signatory) to protect your rights? It that really what you want? Careful what you wish for!
We are a nation able to govern itself.
What does that even mean in this globalised world? Our ability to govern ourselves is the reason why we invaded Iraq? or the reason why our government not only conducts mass surveillance, it shares the data with other governments, too.
The answer is not to wipe the question. We must safeguard our rights, and look at individual cases as humans. People tend look at social topics as if they are binaries. That’s wrong, and that, right there, is the main problem of the society. We don’t see the human beings whose lives are thereby protected; we merely see those who abuse the system. Some people abuse the welfare system. Is scrapping the whole system the right answer?
We should start seeing the human factors involved in these matters too. Our decisions influence other people’s lives too. It’s not black and white, but that’s how many, many of us see it. If people try to see those protected by ECHR as human beings and not only a bunch of cases, if people read some of ECHR judgements and the stories behind them, they will have easier time understanding the concept. That is, of course, if they value human life above all.
If only we tried to understand things…