Don’t let Brexit destroy rights
This is one of our last chances to protect human rights in the UK before Brexit.
Theresa May has repeatedly said she does not see the value of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The prime minister wrongly wants to undo an agreement on peace in Europe which was originally envisioned by Britain in the wake of World War 2.
Brexit could take her one step closer to withdrawing the UK from Europe’s most important human rights treaty.
“If we want to reform human rights laws in this country, it isn’t the EU we should leave but the ECHR and the jurisdiction of its court.”
Theresa May, April 2016
“Theresa May to fight 2020 election on plans to take Britain out of European Convention on Human Rights after Brexit is completed”
Daily Telegraph, December 2016
Membership of the ECHR has ensured UK citizens can challenge cover-ups like the Hillsborough tragedy, it protects people when things go wrong and they seek accountability for injustices.
With the rise of populist agendas across the continent, Theresa May’s plans could damage European peace and prosperity, triggering a domino effect of leaders across Europe abandoning human rights.
We need to make sure that the Brexit process does not make people poorer and weaker against the power of the state.
That’s why we need your help.
We want to take a delegation of civil society organisations and activists to Brussels to tell the EU they must protect human rights.
We need your support so we can lobby the most powerful decision makers in the EU to make Britain's membership of the ECHR a legally binding requirement for any future free trade deal with the UK. The rule of law and human rights are non-negotiable when new countries join the EU, they should be non-negotiable when countries leave and desire a free trade deal.
We will produce a comprehensive briefing for the EU and get into the heart of the EU Parliament and Commission to meet with decision-makers and persuade them that human rights should be part of any new UK-EU trade deal.
With your help, we can make this happen.
A year ago, in a letter published by the Observer, prominent human rights lawyers joined 89up’s calls for the EU to “make Britain’s membership of the ECHR a legally binding requirement for any future free trade deal with the UK. The rule of law and human rights are non-negotiable when new countries join the EU, they should be non-negotiable when countries leave and desire a free trade deal.” Theresa May probably hasn’t changed her mind on international human rights in the last year, but since then the British people rejected her general election platform of a hard Brexit.
Last week, the European Parliament has acted to make our calls a reality by voting in clause 4 of its negotiation framework which states it will, “endorse a framework for the future EU-UK relationship only if it is in strict concordance with… continued adherence to... the European Convention on Human Rights…”. Parliamentarians such as Claude Moraes MEP and Guy Verhofstadt MEP were instrumental in standing up for European rights, which should be applauded.
The vote means there should be no preferential trading terms between the UK and the remaining EU27 member states without the British government signing up to human rights protections, the basic rules of fair play by European nation states. Theresa May’s government now knows that there can be no deep and meaningful relationship without a basic commitment on values.
In the end, we didn't need to take an actual bus to Brussels but a combination of legal analysis, advocacy at the EU and active MEPs in the European Parliament has led to a positive outcome.
Many thanks for all your support. We'll keep you posted on future campaigns on international human rights.
Could Brexit have happened without rights-scepticism?
Domestic politics could be dominated, in coming weeks, by Boris Johnson and Theresa May who seem set on a collision course for the right to occupy No. 10. This is the last thing people want or need in volatile times.
May and Johnson have dovetailed in their baseless critiques of Europe and human rights: May has spoken against the court in Strasbourg on the European Convention on Human Rights (‘ECHR’) and Johnson has spoken against the Luxembourg EU Court of Justice.
Before the EU Referendum Johnson said we should stay in the ECHR and leave the EU, and Theresa May said we should leave the ECHR and remain in the EU - the exact opposite!
What unites them though is that they desperately want to appeal to a recent trait of British culture - rights scepticism - to get what they want.
In my recent piece in HuffPo ( http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/sashy-nathan/human-rights_b_17508882.html ) I set out that rights scepticism has been espoused in spite of the fact that human rights are politically and legally integral to both our unions, the UK and the EU. The Human Rights Act is written into the Good Friday Agreement which has maintained peace in Northern Ireland and the Charter of Fundamental Rights is written into the EU Treaties in order to maintain peace between European nations and ensure there isn’t a slide back into the Fascism and Communism that scarred the twentieth century.
What we’ve been up to recently
After our recent victory with the Labour party committing to the Charter of Fundamental Rights, we’re full steam ahead on work in Europe.
At 89up Thinks, we believe that in the twenty-first century people’s rights should be going forward and not backwards. As part of our campaign for a Bus to Battle a Rights-bashing Brexit, we have been to the EU Parliament this month speaking to leading EU politicians and civil society about how we advocate for this on a pan-European scale in the coming months.
We have begun to make the case to EU influencers that there can be no UK-EU withdrawal agreement without the pan-European rights of citizens being protected.
Thanks to those of you who have supported us so far with this project, we are making good progress!
All the best,
A lot has happened since we last updated you on the campaign. A UK General Election has been called, the Conservative party has committed in its manifesto not to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights (‘ECHR’) and we now know that the Brexit negotiations will start on Monday, 19 June 2017.
The fact that Theresa May has acceded to calls not to withdraw from our most important international law on human rights, the ECHR, is a credit to you speaking out, taking action and fighting for your rights in this campaign. However, the work to ensure Brexit does not lead to a loss of rights has only just started.
This week we have also witnessed an horrific terrorist attack in Manchester. It has been heartening to see so many people from across the country and across the political spectrum refuse to give in to the agenda of cowards who attempt to undermine our values of human rights and democracy.
Those values are part of who are and where we belong in an uncertain world. I spoke about why we need more of these values not less in politics during The Convention. The discussion covered the failure of the state to manage the effects of globalisation on the citizen and the dangers of misleading people about the nature of migration. You can see the video from that panel discussion here (at 32 minutes):
Thanks to your continued support we will keep arguing that requiring countries to comply with internationally-recognised rights must go together with the freedom to trade in order to maintain peace and prosperity in the future.
We’ll be in contact next month with more details about how we plan to insert your rights into the Brexit negotiations.
All the best,
As you have no doubt heard, Prime Minister Theresa May has announced there will be a general election on Thursday, 8 June.
This election represents a fork in the road for Britain.
The country will decide whether we want to embrace international high standards of rights for all or whether we want to engage in a race to the bottom, dictated by grubby trade deals with foreign tyrants.
With your support, the They’re Your Rights campaign will work to ensure all parties make manifesto pledges committing the UK to remaining a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, our most important international law protecting fundamental rights.
Now more than ever, we need internationally recognised human rights standards to challenge our government.
Please consider donating and help us fight to ensure political parties commit to human rights at the General Election.
For more information on They’re Your Rights, and to donate to the campaign, follow the link:
If you have already donated, please do tell a friend about our campaign by forwarding this email.
All the best,
I don't understand politics at all but before reading this post I wasn't aware that our human rights were at risk of being taken away. I personally have the need for this human rights law to remain in place to avoid abuse and hardship from an injustice done to my family by the courts. I fully support what you're trying to do.
I cannot agree. This has divided the country, What worries me is how we demonise those who do not agree with us. I do not know why anti Brexteers voted and I am dismayed by the lack of understanding and appreciation of our constitutional democracy. We need to continue to campaign for the best, not just for ourselves but for the UK. I am with this campaign.
Please understand what democracy means. Just think if the british public had lost the vote, how much moaning do you think we would have done. We would have just put up with being out voted by the scaremongers. Just because you went along with project fear and all the lies, doesnt mean that wse have to keep listening to the minority.