Politicians are never reluctant to criticise nations with poor Human rights records. As we speak the UK has confirmed that we will not be sending official representatives to the Ukraine as a protest against its treatment of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. We are regularly calling on developing nations to improve their human rights records.
This is what we would expect from our democratic leaders.
But the attitude soon changes when Human rights at home get in the way. I have talked before about the present government’s dislike for the Human Rights Act –
This duplicity is raising its head again as the Home Secretary has set herself in confrontation with the judiciary over the Human Rights of offenders. This concerns the right to a family life enshrined in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which came onto our statute books by way of the Human Rights Act under the last government. She is threatening primary legislation if judges do not follow her view that the right to family life is not absolute. So if a foreign offender has family in this country the government can insist on the right to deport them even if that would mean breaking up a family.
Theresa May has said - "This is not an absolute right. So in the interests of the economy or of controlling migration or of public order – those sorts of issues – the state has a right to qualify this right to a family life,"
As I mentioned in my earlier blog, these rights were the product of an Anglo-American initiative after WW2. We should be defending them rather than attacking them.
But the proposals are fundamentally flawed, because they will always involve secondary punishment. If somebody commits an offence, it is right they are punished within our sentencing law. But these proposals will involve extending that punishment to the children of offenders. If the government can force a deportation which would remove a parent from a household then the children have to go as well or they have to be separated from their parent. What have those children done to deserve that?Many of them will be UK Citizens.
There are reasons for these rights. One is to ensure that governments cannot abuse the rights of innocent citizens. That is exactly what is wrong with this plan.
If Mrs. May goes ahead with her threats then we can expect a flood of cases before the courts in this country and in Europe. Whilst one can appreciate that they would be popular with some voters and some tabloids that does not justify them.
Fighting for peoples rights