LETTER: 'Amnesty sends out warning to Britain on Human Rights'

PUBLISHED: 16:03 13 March 2016

Britain has had a proud history of leading the charge on human rights progress from the suffragette movement, to the aftermath of the Second World War when we were key drafters of the European Convention of Human Rights, to gay rights and other equality legislation.

This country has often been the champion of progress.

What a shame, then, that this year the UK was singled out for criticism in Amnesty International’s annual report on the state of the world’s human rights.

Amnesty is warning that the government’s plan to tear up the Human Rights Act is a gift to dictators all over the world. Russia recently drafted legislation which allows it to ignore human rights rulings it doesn’t agree with. Far from being able to condemn that action and call on Putin to uphold basic human rights, the UK is actually talking about following suit.

Britain should continue to be a world leader on human rights. The Human Rights Act protects ordinary people - from the elderly to hospital patients, to domestic violence victims - and we want to see those protections spoken about with pride by our politicians. We should be redoubling our commitment to enduring human rights principles in these troubling times, not undermining them.

You can find out more about these rights at an exhibition of artworks by internationally-renowned and award-winning children’s illustrators currently at Ely Cathedral until 14 March. It’s free and it introduces children – and adults - to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is presented by Ely’s Amnesty International group (joint winners of the 2015 Marsh Christian Trust award for outstanding human rights activism), with grateful thanks to the cathedral chapter.

Or there’s more about Amnesty’s work at https://www.amnesty.org.uk/issues/Human-Rights-Act

SALLY MACEACHERN

Secretary

Ely Amnesty Group

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