Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has condemned the British Government for its plans to weaken human rights law as set out in the Good Friday Agreement by undermining the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Speaking at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Europe’s Human Rights Parliament, Senator Gavan referenced the plan announced this week by the British Government to introduce a so-called “British Bill of Rights”.
This Bill will instruct judges to place British laws above ECHR rulings, and significantly weaken human rights law. It will also screen out some human rights claims against the government or other public bodies.
Senator Gavan said:
“Rights, as set out in the European Convention, are written into the Good Friday Agreement.
“As a result, the European Court of Human Rights has been an important mechanism to which citizens can turn when they suffer grave human rights violations.
“In the context of the conflict in Ireland, this has resulted in landmark judgments such as the McKerr group of cases, which saw the court rule that the victims had their Article Two Right To Life breached.
“The importance of the European Court of Human Rights jurisprudence in upholding the rights of individuals in the North and holding the British Government to account cannot be under-estimated.
“Now, this appalling new law will mean that fundamental rights for all citizens in the North of Ireland, as set out in the Good Friday Agreement, will be undermined.
“Not for the first time, we see the British Government looking to walk away from an international legal agreement that they are a party to. This is totally unacceptable and another example of know-nothing Tories causing untold damage to Ireland.”