Following confirmation from the English Queen’s speech today, that “proposals will be brought forward for a British Bill of Rights”, Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said that Sinn Féin will oppose this and will fight to protect the rights of all.
A Member of the Civil Liberates, Justice and Home Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, Ms Anderson said,
“The 1998 Human Rights Act underpins the Good Friday Agreement, the internationally recognised peace treaty which helped usher in peace and power-sharing in the north of Ireland and is lodged formally with the United Nations.
“It gives effect to the European Convention of Human Rights and gives citizens direct access to the European Court of Human Rights. The European Convention on Human Rights was viewed as a base, below which the provision of rights could not drop. The British government’s now stated objective is to remove that base.
“In 2015 alone the European Court of Human Rights saw 1,561 applications made to it concerning Britain. Whilst some 500 were deemed inadmissible, over 25% of cases that were ruled on, found Britain in violation of the Convention.
Ms Anderson continued,
“Along with Sinn Féin’s political grouping in the European Parliament, GUE/NGL, we sought specifically commissioned legal advice; the outcome of which confirmed that ‘A repeal of the Human Rights Act risks not only breaching the Good Friday Agreement in a technical sense, but infringing its spirit and leading to a loss of faith in the British Government’s commitment to the peace process.’
“This legal opinion has been launched and circulated in Belfast and across the north of Ireland, it has been launched in and circulated in Westminster and on June 1st it will be launched and circulated in the European Parliament in Brussels.
“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 and Sinn Féin will continue to do that.” ENDS