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Amnesty: UK mustn't use chairmanship to chip away at protections

Responding to Prime Minister David Cameron’s address to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg today, Tara Lyle, Policy Adviser at Amnesty International UK, said:

“David Cameron rightly outlined the human rights tradition in this country, stretching from Magna Carta to the UK’s key role in drafting the European Convention on Human Rights after the horrors of the Second World War. 

“His stated commitment to upholding human rights around the world is certainly welcome, but is undermined by proposals made by the UK which would make it harder for individuals to seek redress for human rights violations.

“The UK mustn’t use its chairmanship of the Council of Europe to chip away at hard-won protections. We recognise the European Court faces challenges, and agree that it would be preferable for everyone if more cases were dealt with effectively on a national level. That can be best achieved if all members of the Council of Europe properly implement the Convention and comply with judgements against them, to prevent similar cases being heard again and again.

“Just because politicians are not always winning, it doesn’t mean they can change the rules of the game altogether.

“If the Prime Minister is serious about reminding people of the value of human rights, then he should approve even the unpopular conclusions the European Court arrives at, instead of pandering to those who jeer at European judgements.  Otherwise our chairmanship risks slipping from something noble, to something discredited.”

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