"Reckless" May attacked by Amnesty International over threat to Human Rights Act

Tory PM finds foes in rights’ groups before polling day over proposed terror law shake up

THERESA MAY, the UK Prime Minister, has been branded “reckless and misinformed” by Amnesty International after she pledged yesterday (Tuesday 6 June) that her government would consider altering the Human Rights framework in the fight against terror.

The PM declared she is prepared to “rip-up” human rights laws to impose new restrictions on terror suspects in a move that charities say could see government overreach, affecting the mistaken and innocent.

It has sparked fears from UK and international rights’ charities that the Tories will attempt to achieve a long-term ambition of some in the party and withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Amnesty have stated that given the pressure of safety and security it is “at this very time” that civil liberties should be protected rather than sacrificed.

Some campaigners believe that the Tory leader has made promises on “redressing” Human Rights as a way to take charge of a debate on security which had seen her record as UK Home Secretary questioned and her government’s cuts of emergency services criticised.

“Amnesty International will not stand by silently when threats are made to 'rip up human rights laws'. Human rights are there to protect all in society - that is just pure common sense.” Kate Allen

But charities such as Reprieve have condemned the approach as “reckless and populist”.

Responding to Theresa May’s comments about changing human rights laws, Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK section, said: "Theresa May’s comments are reckless and misinformed.

"This is exactly the time that human rights must be protected and cherished, not attacked and undermined. Amnesty International will not stand by silently when threats are made to 'rip up human rights laws'. Human rights are there to protect all in society - that is just pure common sense.

"Whoever is in government after the 8 June election must ensure our human rights are protected."

“And if human rights laws stop us from doing it, we will change those laws so we can do it.” Therea May

This policy has the potential to cause splits within the Tory party, as different factions see the Human Rights Act as either a European interference or a key piece in the apparatus of the rule of law. The ECHR was drafted in 1950 by a Conservative lawyer David Maxwell-Fyfe to protect the human rights of people in the 47 countries, that signed-up following the second world war.

The former Tory Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC, who was removed from office in 2014 because of his opposition to party policy on scrapping the Human Rights Act, acknowledged that Tory plans would threaten the rule of law and rights across Europe.

Commenting on the new stance, May said: “But I can tell you a few of the things I mean by that: I mean longer prison sentences for people convicted of terrorist offences. I mean making it easier for the authorities to deport foreign terror suspects to their own countries.

“This is exactly the time that human rights must be protected and cherished, not attacked and undermined.” Kate Allen

“And I mean doing more to restrict the freedom and the movements of terrorist suspects when we have enough evidence to know they present a threat, but not enough evidence to prosecute them in full in court.

“And if human rights laws stop us from doing it, we will change those laws so we can do it.”

Picture: CommonSpace

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