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Author Topic: Love it or hate it: The Human Rights Act of 1998

Posts: 1007
Love it or hate it: The Human Rights Act of 1998
on: September 20, 2018, 17:54

Twenty years after the Human Rights Act 1998 was passed by Parliament, Humanists UK has responded to a call for evidence by the Joint Committee on Human Rights, which is conducting an inquiry into its impact, legacy, and considering how it could be strengthened to meet new challenges....

...The belief that the act supports "criminals and terrorists" stems from a small number of high-profile cases, supported by bodies like Liberty, which have involved the rights of terrorist suspects or asylum seekers. In most of these cases, the government has been found to have been at fault.... Source:

On occasions, some people have mistakenly blamed what they supposed was EU legislation for certain unpopular measures enacted by the 1998 UK law. The suggestion that some criminals should retain the right to vote in national elections actually was an European Court of Human Rights ruling (of 2005). The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that the blanket ban on prisoners voting, as it stood, violates the Human Rights Convention....
A small number of prisoners – probably around 100 – will be given the right to vote after a British compromise offer to marginally extend the franchise was accepted on Thursday by the Council of Europe.

The deal, crafted by the justice secretary, David Lidington (Con), brings to an end an embittered 12-year standoff between Strasbourg and London over the enforcement of judgments by the European court of human rights.

The compromise should remove one of the main sources of resentment felt by Conservative rightwingers over the Strasbourg court’s role. Prisoners on temporary release and at home under curfew will gain the right to vote....

However, it should be noted that even that was the ECHR, which is a pan-European court, not an EU body. Correct me if I am mistaken, but my understanding is that the EU and the UK are signatories to the ECHR...
Before 2009, the UK could leave the ECHR whether the UK was in or out of the EU. I am not sure what the situation is now.

To add to the confusion and multiplicity of initials, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) was set up to examine the effectiveness of the act 10 years on.

So don't get confused! 🙂

The point is that when people say that a measure 'contravenes human rights legislation', it is important to try to grasp exactly which legislation and courts are involved. At least determine whether it is UK, EU or International legislation.

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