THE publication of the proposed Human Rights Bill is a shameful day for Britain.

The European Convention on Human Rights preceded the Common Market and European Union by many years and has nothing to do with European bureaucracy.

It was established,with terms of reference drafted largely by British lawyers following the Second World War and is based in Strasbourg, a city which stands on the border of Germany and France. The aim was to guarantee fundamental human rights which had, of course, been denied by Nazi Germany.

These rights are defined as the Right to Life, the Prohibition of Torture, the Prohibition of Slavery and Forced Labour, the Right to Liberty and Security, the Right to a Fair Trial, the Right to No Unlawful Punishment, the Respect for Private and Family Life, the Freedom of Thought, Religion and Conscience, the Freedom of Expression, the Freedom of Assembly and Association, and the Right to Marry.

Enforcement of these fundamental rights is essentially a matter for the countries who signed up to the Convention. The UK enacted its own legislation, the Human Rights Act 1998 which required all UK public authorities to act in a way which complied with the legislation.

Within the Convention there is a mechanism for individuals to make a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights that a participating country has failed to protect the rights specified in the Convention.

The effect of the proposed bill would be to abolish that mechanism and thus to avoid the shame of being found to be a country which does not uphold fundamental human rights.

That is not a result for which my father and grandfather fought in two world wars.

David Laverick,




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