Today we submitted our response to the UK Government’s consultation on the future of the Human Rights Act. If the Bill of Rights proposed by the UK Government in the consultation were to go ahead, it would have the dubious honour of being the first Bill of Rights to actually take away human rights.
We’ve already written about our concerns that this consultation is part of a wider context in which mechanisms that hold the UK Government to account are under threat and highlighted the many reasons why we fully support the Human Rights Act.
In our consultation response we raised some additional concerns about the UK Government’s plans:
1. We do not believe that the UK Government has made an effective ‘case for change’. The Human Rights Act is working well and shouldn’t be tampered with.
2. We believe that any conversation about a UK Bill of Rights should be about increasing our rights, not undermining them or making it more difficult to hold UK Government to account.
4. Drafting a Bill of Rights should engage the whole community, it shouldn’t be done through a very legally technical document that’s only accessible to ‘specialists’. It should involve the population having big conversations about what the future they want to build looks like and how we can work together to get there.
5. We believe that the document was disrespectful of devolution. The devolved administrations are on their own distinctive paths in making human rights real and the UK Government should not interfere in or delay these important national processes.
6. What we do matters outside the UK. We must continue to uphold rights as an example to other nations about how important we hold these to be. This point has become tragically more important in recent weeks following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
We will continue to work together with others across the UK to defend our Human Rights Act.
Image by Rozalina Burkova.