You and human rights

Jon Danzig |

Let’s get this straight: Human rights legislation is all about protecting ordinary citizens from excesses of the state – in other words, OUR GOVERNMENT.

That’s why it’s important that the final arbiter must be the international court in Strasbourg because the European Convention on Human Rights exists to protect citizens from NATIONAL governments.

For some years, successive Tory governments have threatened to scrap the Human Rights Act, which is based on the European Convention on Human Rights.

Tucked away on page 48 of the 2019 Conservatives manifesto is a pledge to “update” the 1998 Human Rights Act. Conservatives want to replace it with a watered down ‘Bill of Rights.’

Hard-right Tories, such as the recently sacked Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, want to go further. They want to leave the European Convention altogether, to enable the UK to send asylum seekers and refugees to Rwanda and other countries.

But once we take away human rights from one human, any human, we erode human rights for all humans. Yes, even for you and me.

Many wrongly believe that human rights are only for foreigners – and anyone could be forgiven for thinking that after listening to leading Tories and reading some of our right-wing press.

But please look at the video I have produced to demonstrate how Britons have benefited from our human rights protections.

The Human Rights Act has been essential to help British citizens. For example:

▪ Thanks to the Human Rights Act, UK law was changed to prevent rape victims from being cross-examined by their attacker.

▪ Human rights laws have also helped patients to gain access to life-saving drugs and held hospitals to account when failures in mental-health care have directly led to suicide.

▪ Human Rights laws have also helped to establish that failing to properly equip British soldiers when on active duty abroad was a breach of their human rights.

And these are just some examples. There are many other cases where British people have needed our Human Rights Act to protect them against the excesses or failures of the State.

The point of human rights is that they should give equal rights to all humans; to you and to me; to foreigners; even to criminals, and even to those humans we do not like.

That’s why human rights need to be international and universal, so that all humans can be protected, even from their own government.

Who’s going to protect us from OUR government if the international European Convention on Human Rights is replaced with a watered-down national Bill of Rights, with no right of appeal to the international court?

We all need to speak out against the government diluting human rights. Human rights are for every human.

  • Watch my 5 minute video about human rights and you