Human Rights Challenges

There has been a lot of discussion this year in the UK about the problems the European court of human rights laws has put on the UK, especially with the case of the lengthy deportation process for the preacher Abu Qatada and the call by the European court of human rights for prisoners to be given a right to vote.

As you may recall, Abu Qatada resisted deportation to Jordan for 10 years after the ECHR passed a ruling that by deporting him, his human rights would be breached. It was only last year when Britain successfully managed to deport him after an agreement was signed with Jordan to guarantee him a fair trial.

But the question arose, does this man deserve to have his human rights protected to such an extent after preaching radical extremism?

David Cameron and his party believes not, and is pushing for a new British Bill of Rights which will prevent such issues in the future. He would like to assert supremacy of parliament over the European court of human rights, and have a stronger position against foreign criminals and their deportation.

But how would the EU respond to such proposals?

Some argue that such a push may threaten Britain’s membership in the EU, as EU members have to be members of the separate Council of Europe. And some question the real reasoning behind the Conservative party’s new British Bill of Rights.

It has been said that it is a political way to win back UK independent party voters under the cover of protecting Britain from a lack of supremacy to the ECHR’s. Simon Hughes of the Liberal Democrats has accused the Conservative party of “seeking to abandon the single greatest advance in the protection of human rights simply to counter the threat posed by UKip” (source: The Guardian).

He also said  “It is a British convention through and through … Just think of the message we would be sending around the world, to Russia, Syria and China, if we ripped up our own commitment to international human rights.”

Whichever way you look at it, the Conservative party is focused on boosting the supremacy of its parliament over that of the courts of Strasbourg. Whether they succeed in pushing for a new and supreme British Bill of Rights is one matter, and what its affect will be on its EU membership, will be another.