THE BLOG

Board The Bus To Battle A Rights-Bashing Brexit

01/03/2017 16:58
JUSTIN TALLIS via Getty Images

From Hillsborough to Stephen Lawrence, human rights law has helped countless Britons get the justice they deserve. Now, as we shape up to do the deal to leave the EU, those protections are under threat - and we must fight to save those rights for the people who need them most. That's why we're getting a battle bus to to Brussels and you can back it on GoFundMe.

The European Convention on Human Rights was created out of the horrors of the Second World War. It echoed the cry of a generation who wanted to ensure the barbarity of the Holocaust was never again repeated on European soil. They wanted to structure our values in a way that was meaningful and sustainable. It was ground-breaking in its ambition to hold politicians and states, who could not be trusted to abide by higher standards of conduct, accountable to the rule of law and the scrutiny of their citizens and the courts.

Campaigns agency 89up is taking a battle bus to Brussels to stop Theresa May using Brexit as an excuse to repeal our human rights. Our Message to the EU is loud and clear: don't do a deal trade deal unless there are guarantees on the human rights of Britons. This is a crucial fight that we cannot lose. If we give an inch, our government could turn the clock back on decades of progress for everyone and that has protected the rights of the most vulnerable in our society. You can help get our bus on the road here.

Before the referendum Mrs May was a sole voice on the Remain campaign calling for withdrawal from the European Convention. Last week the Secretary of State for Justice, Liz Truss confirmed that the government will not tear up human rights laws, which it has been wanting to do for ten years, until after Brexit. What Truss didn't say was that an extreme form of Brexit is the perfect platform from which the government can radically roll back human rights in the UK. This is because membership of the EU has always been one of the key barriers to withdrawal from the European Convention of Human Rights, our most meaningful international law protecting rights.

If the UK leaves the Convention, citizens will lose powers to legally challenge infringements on their freedom of expression, right to a family life and the freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Without clear protections in law, we face the threat of our government colluding with controversial regimes such as the Trump administration or the Saudi regime invading citizens' privacy or censoring journalists. We could go back to an era of torture and capital punishment.

Some politicians have an irrational fear of being held to account. They believe human values should be subject to the whims of politicians not legally-certain and enforceable. They want lots of power and very little scrutiny.

That's why some of the most distinguished and notable lawyers in the UK including Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC, Professor Francesca Klug OBE, Lord Anthony Lester QC, and Sir Paul Jenkins KCB QC backed our call that there should be no EU-UK free trade deal without an express requirement that the UK remains signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights.

So why are we asking the EU to do this? When countries seek to join the EU they need to be a signatory to the European Convention, which has meant those countries have had to improve their human rights. If you leave the EU and you want a free trade deal there is no reason why you should not also be required to protect human rights too.

The time for fighting back and standing up for your human rights is now, not after the 2020 general election, when it could be too late. To do this we need your help. You can donate to the crowdfund to get our bus on the road to Brussels and fight for your rights.

Comments

CONVERSATIONS