Welcoming delegates to Liberty’s 2011 Labour fringe, Shami noted the very high turnout - a heartening reminder of the Party’s historic commitment to human rights which includes death penalty abolition, the creation of legal aid, the legalisation of homosexuality and the landmark passage of the Human Rights Act.
Article 10 of the Human Rights Act – freedom of expression – helps distinguish our country as the democracy it is. Free speech, often taken for granted, is vital to any open society. Ideas must be allowed to be shared to help inform debate and ensure accountability in government.
So the Met has backed down in its attempt to force Guardian reporters to reveal confidential sources – that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who knows the Human Rights Act. Leaving aside the irony of prosecuting those who blew the whistle on the hacking scandal rather than cover it up, the Met’s application was always doomed to failure.
In this latest entry in our blog series explaining the small bundle of rights and freedoms contained in the Human Rights Act, and debunking the misunderstandings around it, we’re turning our attentions to Article 3: no torture, inhuman or degrading treatment.
Slavery in modern day Britain? Sadly, it does not beggar belief. This morning we woke to terrible reports that 24 people appear to have been held in appalling and squalid conditions in Bedfordshire and forced to work for years with no pay. Police reports suggest that many of the victims are extremely vulnerable and on the margins of our society - easy prey for those who would exploit them. Some of them may have been imprisoned for as long as 15 years.
In the 21st century the term ‘slavery’ is most commonly associated with William Wilberforce, the reforming British politician who lobbied for the abolition of the slave trade 200 years ago. But for many, far from being the stuff of history books and Hollywood films, slavery in modern Britain is a frightening reality.
Yesterday’s newspaper revelations about documents found in Tripoli should have reddened many a face closer to home. The idea that British authorities sought “timely detainee debriefs” from those held by the Gaddafi regime should turn the stomachs of all UK parliamentarians. That Libyan dissidents living in Britain were named to that same regime and quite possibly placed under control orders on the basis of intelligence gained by torture should make the smooth passage of Government legislation rebranding control orders unthinkable.
Last week we embarked upon a new blog series exploring the Human Rights Act. Inspired by the myths and unprovoked attacks on the Act, and the lack of public education about the small bundle of rights and freedoms it contains, we’re conducting a weekly dissection of it – Article by Article – to get to the bottom of what it really means. Today we’re looking at Article 6: the right to a fair hearing.