Politicians warn that a review of the British human rights law could jeopardize the Northern Ireland peace agreement


UK politics and policy updates

Before the independent review of the legislation, politicians on both sides of the Irish border warned that any changes to the British Human Rights Act could “inflame” the fragile politics of Northern Ireland and undermine the peace.

Led by retired judge Sir Peter Gross Review of the 1998 ActThose who have been attacked by Conservative Party members for a long time will submit a report before the end of the year.

The 1998 Good Friday Agreement ended decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland and included an important human rights component that was supported by the United Kingdom Human Rights Law.

Academics, politicians, and human rights activists worry that any attempt to weaken legislation will jeopardize the peace agreement and the already fragile post-Brexit political balance in the region.

“Discussing the possibility of repealing the bill greatly undermines the Good Friday agreement,” said North Belfast Sinn Fein MP John Finucane (John Finucane). His party is part of the Northern Ireland Power Sharing Executive.

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Attorney General Charlie Flanagan, who is now chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Irish Parliament, said that any changes “will fuel the fires of the already fragile political situation in Northern Ireland”. Ireland is a guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement.

The bill has been criticized by successive Conservative governments and promised to repeal it in the 2010 and 2015 Conservative Party Manifestos. In 2019, Boris Johnson promised to “update” the bill to incorporate the European Convention on Human Rights into British law.

Some Conservative Party members are worried that the court has exceeded its authority, and judges are at risk of getting involved in politics. Ministers have proposed changes to judicial review-government decisions are being challenged in court.

Although the United Kingdom has left the European Union, the Human Rights Act has long aroused political anger because the British courts need to consider the human rights rulings made by the European Court of Human Rights.

However, if the government wants to amend the bill, it seems that it will face strong opposition. Many campaign groups, charities, and academics submitted review opinions that the bill is working well and does not need to be changed.

Britain’s plans in Belfast and Dublin have been severely criticized. Stop prosecution Among those accused of violent crimes during the trouble, Finucane stated that the process must be viewed through the lens of Brexit.

“They don’t want human rights legislation to carry obligations that they believe come from foreign sources,” Finukan said, and he welcomed New EU survey In 1989 his father was murdered by a loyal paramilitary organization.

In a submission, the Social Democratic Labor Party of Northern Ireland (SDLP) worried that the review “will become a new battleground for “malign Euroscepticism”.

When the British Chancellor of the Exchequer Robert Buckland initiated a review in December last year, he said that he would focus on whether the 1998 Act is working effectively. He said that human rights are “deeply rooted in our Constitution, and the UK has a proud tradition of upholding and promoting human rights at home and abroad.”

He also told the Joint Special Committee on Human Rights in July that the government is still committed to the European Convention on Human Rights and the Good Friday Agreement.

The committee concluded in its July report that there is no reason for reform and that “amending the human rights law will pose a huge risk to our constitutional settlement and the enforcement of our rights.”

The Freedom Movement stated in its submission that it is “deeply concerned” that the changes will “limit the court’s ability to provide direct remedies when it discovers that human rights violations have occurred.”

Amnesty International UK stated that the bill “carefully and accurately” protects individual rights without public support for reform. “It appears that the only drivers of reduction in HRA are Westminster executives and a small group of media and influential but opaque think tanks,” it said.

The Public Law Project, a legal charity, pointed out that tampering with the bill would “provoke a series of other potential problems, including major issues related to decentralization solutions.”

Former Attorney General Dominic Griff told the Financial Times that he “hopes that if the government feels anything, it will not cause any major changes.”

The former Attorney General Lord Edward Garnier acknowledged his initial concerns but stated that “in general [the act has] More beneficial than nothing”.

Nevertheless, there are some people who support the overhaul. The Metropolitan Police Department and the National Police Commissioner’s Commission stated in their documents that “frequent claims” for human rights violations are “expensive and resource-intensive processing”.

Senior barristers of the Conservative Bar Association also called for amendments to the bill, saying that it “enables our judges to participate in wrongful judicial actions” and “encourages excessive interpretation of regulations.”

The Ministry of Justice said in a statement: “After 20 years of operation, it is correct to consider whether the Human Rights Act is still operating effectively. We look forward to the results of the independent review when we report later this year.” It said the team Has been in close contact with stakeholders across the UK including Northern Ireland.


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