Repeal of the Human Rights Act could have dire consequences for the disability sector – Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has warned that the planned British Government repeal of the Human Rights Act could have dire consequences for disabled citizens.

Ms Anderson, a member of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, said;

“Later this month I will publish an opinion for the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the European Union.

“The 1998 Human Rights Act gives effect to the European Convention on Human Rights in Britain and the north of Ireland. Within the Convention there are several clauses that relate directly to the provision of rights for persons with disabilities.

“These include Article Two, the right to life, Article 3, the prohibition of torture and inhumane and degrading treatment and Article 8, the right to respect of private life. The Convention is upheld by the European Court of Human Rights and the Human Rights Act gives citizens access to the court.  

“On several occasions the European Court of Human Rights ruled against the British Government in cases taken by disabled citizens in relation to breaches of their fundamental rights.

“We still don’t know what Britain’s relationship with the Convention will be if the planned repeal proceeds. Current protections will undoubtedly be diluted by this Tory government that openly seeks to reverse many of the provisions of European Convention on Human Rights in relation to human rights protections.”

The Sinn Féin MEP concluded;

“In recent months we were successful in passing an Accessibility Act through the European Parliament and I’m optimistic the upcoming report on the rights of persons with disabilities will address some of the major concerns of the sector.

“This positive, hard work, however, could be partially undone by the narrow-minded actions of this hawkish Tory government. I agree with Loukis Loucaides, former Judge in the European Court of Human Rights, that: ‘The Convention cannot, of course, solve all the problems of the disabled persons, but it can certainly contribute greatly to their alleviation.”

“Human rights provision for all citizens should be unequivocal and absolute. It is essential that the planned repeal of the Human Rights Act is resisted at every juncture.”