Goodbye human rights, hello “British rights”

In 1948 the United Nations created Universal Human Rights. Two years later the British government – along with neighbours including France, Italy and Norway – signed the European Convention on Human Rights. This treaty has allowed Europeans to appeal to the Court of Human Rights, if and when their government starts abusing them.

  • Examples of governments abusing their citizens include:
  • Torture by police
  • Prosecution for critical journalism
  • Abuse by carers
  • Homosexual discrimination
  • Imprisonment for striking
  • Arrest for peaceful protest
  • Jailed indefinitely
  • Denied the right to vote

Appeal to the Court of Human Rights application form

courtroom_european_court_of_human_rights_05
Image: Adrian Grycuk / Wikimedia Commons

Now, imagine if Nigel “Tiny Trump” Farage said we should undo this human rights treaty, because British rights are better.

The reaction would hopefully be a mixture of outrage, scorn and mockery.

Now imagine David Cameron saying the same thing. We should remove ourselves from Europe’s human rights treaty, because British rights are b-

“So at long last, with a Conservative Government after the next election, this country will have a new British Bill of Rights, to be passed in our parliament, rooted in our values.

And as for Labour’s Human Rights Act we will scrap it once and for all!”

When a government starts deciding which rights its people have and don’t have, they stop being universal human rights. They’re just rights.

Apartheid South Africa used to have its own rights. The Soviet union used to decide which rights its people did and didn’t have. Jews living in Nazi Germany had certain rights, as decided by the then Nazi government.

But, as the Daily Mail tried to explain the other week, universal human rights are secretly insidious. Since joining the European Court of Human Rights we have apparently been experiencing something called

“The rampant abuse of human rights law”

And apparently it is national governments who are being abused by human rights law.

David Cameron wants to make sure that the UK government will no longer be accountable to the Court of Human Rights:

“Let me put it very clearly.

We do not require instruction from judges in Strasbourg on this issue!

[fascist applause]”

Today, when your human rights are abused by the British government, you can apply to the European Court of Human Rights.

If the Conservative Party have their way, when your human British rights are abused by the British government, the authority to report your abuses to will be the British government. In other words, the bully could become the teacher.

Image: Steven G Johnson / Flickr
Image: United Nations Photo / Flickr

For now, these proposed changes to our rights have been shelved. It looks like somebody has advised David Cameron they were too controversial to be part of his “reformed” EU.

But the brave men and women struggling against “the rampant abuse of human rights law” will not give up that easily.

The arguments against the Human Rights Act are coming. They will be false.


Outraged? Scared?

You can get involved here, herehere, here, here, here and here.

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