(21 Jun 2022)
Ministers of the devolved nations have also highlighted how the Government’s proposals to replace the Human Rights Act threaten to undermine the devolution settlement in Scotland and Northern Ireland, with the Good Friday Agreement put in serious risk by any changes to the Human Rights Act.
Pre-legislative scrutiny of these plans is made even more important by the divergence between the proposals and the findings of the independent panel established by the Government to review the operation of the Human Rights Act. The panel found that the HRA is operating effectively to preserve parliamentary autonomy and to protect individuals’ rights.
However, the Government’s proposed Bill of Rights ignored these findings and would be a vast and deeply consequential overhaul of human rights protections in this country.
In a letter sent on Monday 20 June 2022, the groups urged the Government to respect the principles of our parliamentary democracy and subject the proposed Bill of Rights to the pre-legislative scrutiny it clearly requires.
Liberty Director Martha Spurrier, said: “Scrapping the Human Rights Act poses a real, imminent threat to rights in the UK. It’s a blatant, unashamed power grab from a Government that wants to put those in power above the law. They are quite literally rewriting the rules in their favour so they become untouchable.
“The Human Rights Act and access to the European Convention of Human Rights has empowered people in the UK to enforce their rights in practice. It has enabled people to challenge unlawful policies, be treated with dignity by public authorities and secure justice for their loved ones.
“The Government’s plan is to weaken and undermine this, taking power away from the public to take for themselves. We all know this Government cannot be trusted to keep its word or play by the rules. We’re urging everyone to not let them get away with this looting of our rights. Speak up and make your voice hard.”