Sadiq Khan: Human Rights Day is an opportunity to promote the importance of the ECHR
Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan has blasted Tory plans to leave the European Court of Human Rights.
In a Huffington Post article on Human Rights Day, the senior Labour MP said: “The Tories see no double standards in celebrating the 800th anniversary next year of a Magna Carta whose provisions are pretty much redundant today, while wanting to walk away from the ECHR and rip up the Human Rights Act, both of which are providing genuine protection of people’s rights, here and now.”
He continued: “But it’s not for a Tory government to decide who is deserving. Our politicians settled this debate 70 years ago – the same rights apply to each and every person, regardless of their colour, gender, sexuality or nationality.”
Mr Khan added: “Walking away from the ECHR would mean closing ourselves off to the world. This reverses centuries of history and is so very un-British. Turning our backs on the ECHR would also give succour to those governments in Europe and around the world only too eager to undermine their citizen’s human rights.
“Our moral authority to press other countries on their human rights record – a cornerstone of our foreign policy – would be chopped off at the knees.”
Under Tory proposals, the UK Parliament will decide what constitutes a breach of human rights.
But Labour and the Liberal Democrats say the move puts Britain’s reputation at risk.
In recent years, Conservative critics have accused the European Court of Human Rights of overreaching its jurisdiction, particularly when it comes to the deportation of foreign criminals such as radical cleric Abu Qatada.
Successive governments have complied with its rulings on a whole host of landmark LGBT cases.
Rulings include: overturning the ban on same-sex acts in Northern Ireland; abolishing the ban on gay people serving in the military; ensuring protection against homophobic and transphobic discrimination in the work place, and pension rights for trans people.
Today is Human Rights Day; a day designated by the United Nations to draw attention to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That declaration set out 30 fundamental rights belonging to all persons. But 76 years later, the state of play of human rights across the world leaves a great deal to be desired.
79 states criminalise people on the basis of their sexuality or gender identity.
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