An attack on the Human Rights Act, which incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into British law, is expected to be part of the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday billed as a bid for Brexit Britain to get rid of the remaining European law. However, experts have argued that an attempt to replace the HRA with a British bill of rights could negatively impact the country internationally.
They say it could force Britons to take cases to ECHQ as they did before the law was introduced, potentially facing ministers with the prospect of fines from the Strasbourg court, if he does. the UK was found to be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Sue Willman, chair of the Law Society’s human rights committee, told The Independent that attacking the HRA would make the UK appear ‘arrogant’ and leave the country with a ‘diminishing’ international role .
She said: “It perpetuates the feeling that the UK is arrogant and wants to go its own individualistic way.
“In theory, a UK Bill of Rights could be an opportunity to introduce additional new rights, such as the right to a healthy environment currently being debated at the Council of Europe.
“But there are no additional rights in the proposals, just plans to erode the rights we already have.
“It will distract us from our role as the perceived leader of international human rights, the rule of law and democracy.
“We will end up with a diminishing international role going our own way.”
The proposed UK Bill of Rights is expected to announce that UK courts will no longer have to follow decisions made by the ECHR.
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Liberty director Martha Spurrier has warned that the government could jeopardize the Good Friday Agreement by assaulting the HRA.
She said: “There are all sorts of ramifications if you start going back to protecting rights.
“If the UK government breaks the Human Rights Act, it is a breach of the Good Friday Agreement.
“The decentralization aspect will be very complex, as Scotland and Wales are moving in the direction of incorporating more rights, not fewer.
“Treaty protections are linked to many trade treaties because countries require equivalence of rights standards.
“Making rights conditional on good behavior is toxic.
“The people the state considers to have misbehaved are precisely those who are at risk of mistreatment by the state, whether they are prisoners, protesters or stateless people.
“It creates a kind of impunity and erodes the idea that rights are universal. For migrants in particular, rights become conditional on citizenship.