The Tory war on human rights will be raging across the tabloid press in the build up to the next general election. The Daily Mail and its partners in false news will be convincing voters that Britain is hostage to the European Convention on Human Rights and hope they fall for the deceit.
What is the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)? It its a protocol that provides a safety net for individuals, working people, trade unions and the marginalised – such as immigrants – through the European Court of Human Rights. It was created to protect people from their own governments.
The convention was launched in Rome on 4 November 1950 and came into force on 3 September 1953. The United Kingdom – under Conservative Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden – was the first signatory, followed by Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and, over time, every one of the 47 Council of Europe member states.
Only two countries have ever left the human rights treaty. Greece withdrew in 1969 following a military coup which abolished democracy; it was later reversed when the military was overturned. The second resignation came on 16 September 2022 when Mr Putin in the midst of bombing Ukraine decided he no longer wanted to be a slave to human rights.
In the footsteps of Putin and the Greek colonels, Rishi Sunak is considering new laws that will allow the government to deport people who reach our shores irregularly without recourse to the European courts or the right to apply for asylum – red meat for the Red Wall and Tory Right.
The first deportation flight of asylum seekers to Rwanda ordered by Home Secretary Suella Braverman in June 2022 was halted after a last-minute intervention by the European Court of Human Rights. The administration in Kigali, the capital, were to receive between ‘£20,000 and £30,000 for each individual.‘
In spite of having breached security rules by sending classified documents to low ranking Tories not entitled to read them, Ms Braverman was brought back into the same job at the Home Office by Rishi Sunak when he was selected as Prime Minister. She announced on accepting the post that it was still her ‘dream’ and ‘obsession’ to see a flight of asylum seekers take off for Rwanda.
It is likely that no one mentioned that during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, more than 500,000 Tutsis were slaughtered by the majority Hutus in 100 days. According to the US State Department, the post-genocide government is responsible for grave violations of human rights including arbitrary detention and torture.
Ms Braverman described Rwanda as ‘a very nice place’ after a brief visit. If her dream to fly immigrants from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq off to Central Africa is going to come true, quitting the European Convention on Human Rights will have to be a key promise in the next Tory manifesto.
Simon Clarke, the former cabinet minister, told the Guardian that it was ‘completely right’ to consider withdrawal. ‘It is a fundamental question of trust and competence that we should very significantly curb illegal immigration into the UK … Our human rights architecture is being abused by criminals to endanger the lives of desperate people.’
Brexit and Tory War on Human Rights
Brexit was largely won by the fear that Britain was going to be overrun by Turks about to join the EU, Syrian refugees in headscarves – the poster launched by Nigel Farage – and Boris Johnson’s catalogue of lies about funding and safeguarding the NHS.
It was never mentioned that immigrants were net contributors to the economy, that thousands of doctors and nurses from Europe worked in the NHS, or that new Brexit laws would only prevent Europeans from unlimited travel to the UK – as it would end unlimited movement, business and study opportunities for Brits in Europe.
It was kept well-hidden that migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East were not affected by Brexit laws and remained in the same legal predicament: apply for an entry visa or pay a smuggler and jump in a rubber dinghy.
Twenty points behind in the polls, Brexiteers Sunak, Braverman, Rees-Mogg and Co, in collusion with the billionaires with non-dom status who own the extremist press – the Daily Mail, Times, Telegraph etc – will use the same Brexit playbook to deceive voters into believing that by leaving the convention on human rights it will prevent black and brown people from crossing the Channel.
This is patently untrue. People who have risked their lives fleeing across the world from war, persecution and poverty to reach family, loved ones and a new beginning in Britain will not be put off by 20 miles of choppy seas and hastily made regulations.
The European Convention on Human Rights is not a tool to counter immigration, but an essential pillar of our democracy. It is an agreement to maintain security and good governance – both of which have vanished in Russia and for a decade have been on the decline in every category of well-being in the United Kingdom: health, education, life expectancy, infant mortality, functioning courts, fair wages, control of corporate violations.
The convention protects ordinary people from the State. It ensures that atrocities – such as the Holocaust – would never be repeated; it guarantees freedom from torture and slavery, and safeguards fundamental rights such as having a fair hearing in court. It gives every European the right of respect for private and family life, freedom of expression, freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
For working people, it provides the right to strike, demand fair wages, a minimum work week, binding contracts and the right of assembly such as trade union demonstrations and public marches – for example the million or more who marched against war in Iraq would now be kettled, beaten and arrested under new powers granted to the police.
The Tory war on human rights is a real and present danger. It is a battle Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman believe they can win, as winning the next general election is more important to them than the democratic rights signed by politicians after the Second World War to prevent the rebirth of fascism and guarantee people freedom of fear from their own government.
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