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Tory Euroscepticism must not divert UK Human Rights chairmanship

by awitherick on 6 January, 2012

The UK has taken over for 6 months the chairmanship of the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe which hosts the European Court of Human Rights. That Court applies the European Human Rights Convention (ECHR) in cases brought by citizens of the 47-country organisation.

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford commented:

“I fully share the government’s top priority of reform of the European Court of Human Rights to make it more streamlined and efficient, long championed by LibDems. The current huge backlog of cases, bureaucratic delays and variable quality of judges obviously prejudice the Court’s effectiveness.”

“The objective is to increase respect for the European Human Rights Court and Convention, not to undermine them. Europe minister David Lidington has rightly disabused those Tory MPs hoping for UK government sabotage.”

“The notion that European human rights law only protects terrorists, rapists and illegal immigrants is a gross fallacy. In applying the European Convention the court has done much to safeguard the liberties of British citizens such as over storage of DNA, stop & search and ending discrimination against widowers in benefits.”

“The ECHR was largely drafted by British lawyers to guarantee freedom and peace after fascism and war. As a founder signatory, the UK is uniquely well-placed to reinvigorate the Court so that through landmark decisions and in partnership with national judges it can lead the challenge to serious human rights abuses throughout Europe.”

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