109 Civil Liberty Groups opose The Bill of Rights Bill

Statewatch, along with 122 other human rights, civil society and community organisations, are calling on MPs to vote against the proposed ‘Bill of Rights’, which would replace the Human Rights Act.

The Bill of Rights Bill must be withdrawn and the Human Rights Act 1998 must be retained, as it has been vital in securing dignity, justice, and respect for individuals, families, and communities. A coalition of organisations and individuals call on MPs to vote against the Rights Removal Bill.

The Government has ignored expert legal and policy analysis on its plans to repeal and replace the Human Rights Act, and has denied calls for greater parliamentary scrutiny of the plans. The Justice Committee chair said that the Government’s consultation process was inaccessible, exclusionary, and highly flawed. The Government published its consultation document without ensuring that everyone could take part, and without publishing a robust equality impact assessment.
The Bill of Rights Bill (referred to as the Rights Removal Bill) undermines the State’s duty to protect our rights, which is what enabled the victims of serial ‘black cab’ rapist John Worboys to seek truth, justice, and accountability. The Rights Removal Bill will stop the clock on the further development of rights protections in response to changing conditions, strip back existing rights, and limit the ability of courts to protect the public from human rights abuses and for public bodies to respect people’s human rights.

The Bille of Rights Bill (Rights Removal Bill) will jeopardise people’s right to challenge decisions that put their rights at risk, and will create further barriers to justice. It will also make it harder for individuals to challenge their deportations on the basis of violations of their right to private and family life. The Rights Removal Bill seeks to further entrench systemic racism by limiting people’s ability to challenge their deportation on Article 8 grounds and by limiting their ability to challenge deportations based on diplomatic assurances that they will not be harmed.

The Rights Removal Bill undermines the protection of free speech by removing protection where a person wants to assert their rights against the government. The Rights Removal Bill restricts the powers of the courts and reduces the scope for Parliament to scrutinise whether legislation is compatible with human rights.

This will lead to more people having to make the long and costly trip to Strasbourg to pursue their rights. The Rights Removal Bill seeks to undermine the Belfast/Good Friday Peace Agreement by allowing the UK government to ignore interim measures of the ECtHR, which are only available when there is a risk of “irreparable harm”. This will set a negative precedent for other countries in the Council of Europe.

This short statement does not even begin to cover all the problems with the Rights Removal Bill. We urge parliamentarians to protect their constituents and vote down this Bill.
Access Social Care, ACEVO, Advocacy Western Isles, Agenda, Alcohol Focus Scotland, Amnesty International UK, Asylum Aid, Asylum Matters, Asylum Support Appeals Project, Bail for Immigration Detainees, Baptists Together, Best for Britain, CEMVO Scotland, Centre for Military Justice, Child Poverty Action Group, Child Rights International Network, Children’s Law Centre. Regional Equality Network, Open Britain, Oxfam, Peace Brigades International UK, Play Scotland, POhWER, Prison Reform Trust, Prisoners’ Advice Service, Project 17, Public Interest Litigation Support, Public Law Project, Race Council Cymru, Race Equality First, Refugee Action, Rethink Mental Illness, Rights & Security International, Rights of Women, Scottish CND.