International Criticism of UK Human Rights Record

08 June 2005

Alvaro Gil-Robles' report into the state of Human Rights in the UK is
sober reading in relation to a number of flagship Government policies -
in particular Control Orders (under the Prevention of Terrorism Act
2005) and aspects of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders; described as

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty said:
"This important
report from a respected international human rights' watchdog must be
taken extremely seriously by anyone who values democracy or Britain's
reputation in the world. It is a serious wake up call to politicians who
have rubbished notions of fairness and basic human dignity for too
long. There should be a full parliamentary debate into all the key

Liberty Press Office: 020 7378 3656 or 07973 831
Notes to Editors

Key quotes from Mr Gil-Robles:
1. On the Government’s
Control Orders: “Quite apart from the obvious flouting of the
presumption of innocence, the review proceedings described can only be
considered to be fair, independent and impartial with some difficulty”
(Page 10).
2. On the use of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders: “It is
difficult to avoid the impression that the ASBO is being touted as a
miracle cure for urban nuisance”. “It is to be hoped that this burst of
ASBO-mania will quieten down, and that its use in time will be limited
to appropriate and serious cases, where no other means of intervention
might succeed. Responsible guidelines and realistic rhetoric is
required, however, for this to happen” (Page 35).Key aspects of the
       1. The Commissioner finds that at least some control orders will
constitute criminal punishment without trial and is severely critical of
the admissibility of material gained by torture in relation to
anti-terror policy.
       2. He is very worried about the broad definition of
anti-social behaviour, inappropriate ASBOs and especially the naming and
shaming of children.
       3. He welcomed both the existence of the human
rights act and proposals for the Commission for Equality and Human
Rights4. There is criticism of aspects of the Government's asylum
policy- in particular- forced destitution of asylum seekers and
long-term detention (especially in relation to children).5. Other
criticisms relate to prison conditions and juvenile justice and the
state of human rights in both Northern Ireland and Scotland.The Council
of Europe
• Alvaro Gil-Robles is the first Human Rights Commissioner for
the Council of Europe. In the six year term of Office the Commissioner
produces reports on each Government within the Council of Europe.
• The
Commissioner has produced a report on the Human Rights situation in
Russia. In May 2005 Gil-Robles visited Russia and received an assurance
from President Putin that the reports recommendations would be carried
• The Council of Europe is the continent's oldest political
organisation, founded in 1949. It groups together 46 countries,
including 21 countries from Central and Eastern Europe. 46 MEMBER STATES
Albania (13.07.1995)Andorra (10.11.1994)Armenia (25.01.2001)Austria
(16.04.1956)Azerbaijan (25.01.2001)Belgium (05.05.1949)Bosnia &
Herzegovina (24.04.2002)Bulgaria (07.05.1992)Croatia (06.11.1996)Cyprus
(24.05.1961)Czech Republic (30.06.1993)Denmark (05.05.1949)Estonia
(14.05.1993)Finland (05.05.1989)France (05.05.1949)Georgia
(27.04.1999)Germany (13.07.1950)Greece (09.08.1949)Hungary
(06.11.1990)Iceland (07.03.1950)Ireland (05.05.1949)Italy
(05.05.1949)Latvia (10.02.1995)Liechtenstein (23.11.1978)Lithuania
(14.05.1993)Luxembourg (05.05.1949)Malta (29.04.1965)Moldova
(13.07.1995)Monaco (05.10.2004)Netherlands (05.05.1949)Norway
(05.05.1949)Poland (26.11.1991)Portugal (22.09.1976)Romania
(07.10.1993)Russian Federation (28.02.1996)San Marino (16.11.1988)Serbia
and Montenegro (03.04.2003)Slovakia (30.06.1993)Slovenia
(14.05.1993)Spain (24.11.1977)Sweden (05.05.1949)Switzerland
(06.05.1963)The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (09.11.1995)Turkey
(09.08.1949)Ukraine (09.11.1995)United Kingdom (05.05.1949)