UK suffers worst rights record in Europe


Britain suffers one of the worst human rights records among European countries with more than 100 court rulings lodged against the country.


Five years after former Prime Minister Tony Blair boasted that he had fulfilled his promise to “bring rights home” by enacting the Human Rights Act, the UK faces various investigations over its failures to comply with a series of European court rulings based on the regulations set by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The European courts have filed more than 100 guilty judgements against the UK to which its government has failed to provide adequate answer.

Britain has 107 guilty judgements - the sixth highest number among 47 countries that have signed to the ECHR.

The findings range from violations of the rights of mental health patients to the failure to protect children from unlawful corporal punishment in the home, according to a report by the daily The Independent.

Having this horrific record, members of the current ruling Conservative party are tearing themselves in two in public over a desire by much of the party to abolish the concept of individual rights, and specifically the right to a family - at least as they are encoded in law.

But, those people ignore the fact that “human rights are a living faculty of law and philosophy. Like the established fundamental laws of physics, mathematics and other sciences, the philosophy of human rights is based on certain core values such as the right to life and liberty, which are indisputable”, says Davinder Kumar, an award-winning development journalist and human rights activist.

The European Convention on Human Rights and its enshrinement into the UK law by the Human Rights Act are examples of how nations have contracted themselves into a legally-binding agreement to enforce the laws that uphold human rights of individuals and collectives”, Kumar says.

This is while, it was the former Labour government that first sought to sidestep its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights after the 11 September 2001 terror attacks on the US soil.

The then Blair government was the first to rush anti-terror legislation through Parliament, by which the Home Secretary was authorised to indefinitely detain foreign terror suspects by derogating from the ECHR.

The House of Lords canceled the legislation in December last year, but control orders quickly followed which, lawyers argued, amounted to house arrest, another form of indefinite detention.

Successive UK governments have given all-out support to the world's most repressive regimes at the international arena, while at the same time lecturing themselves as the advocates of human rights.

The governments supplied most lethal weaponry to most despotic regimes in Libya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and elsewhere to be used to suppress peaceful protests of the defenseless people of those countries who are demanding their basic human rights.

Nevertheless, as Kumar puts it “human rights cannot be questioned, but the legislation articulating them into laws should remain open to scrutiny through due process.”

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