LibLink: Catherine Bearder MEP: How can Britain celebrate Magna Carta and contemplate leaving ECHR in the same year?

Catherine Bearder MEP has co-written an article for the New Statesman on the Conservatives’ plans to abolish the Human Rights Act. She said:

Fundamental rights, the rule of law and democratic principles are frequently violated in nearly all EU member states. In some cases, the violations are serious and systematic.  The current Hungarian government is one of the most egregious offenders. In recent years we have seen critical media gagged, the electoral law changed to secure an absolute majority for the governing party, opposition parties weakened and the independence of the judiciary undermined. But there are many other examples across Europe: the anti-gay laws in Lithuania, the deportation of Roma people from France, the inhumane treatment of underage asylum seekers in the Netherlands and the collective disregard shown for the law and civil liberties in many countries’ counter-terrorism policies.

We lose our moral authority if we tolerate torture, secret prisons, abduction, and indefinite detention without fair trials. These ugly blots tarnish Europe’s status as a shining beacon of freedom and human rights in the world. EU governments must be held accountable for these crimes, including and especially those committed in the name of defending democracy.

That is why we need legal instruments to uphold our common values, even if this means that sometimes national authorities are overruled.  EU member states have voluntarily signed up to these supranational laws and conventions for good reason.  It is the essence of democracy that those in power are bound by laws and their powers are limited.  That may sometimes be awkward, but these checks and balances are the vital safeguards which protect us against abuse of power by the state.

These principles are not left or right-wing, nor are they alien to British culture. Quite the opposite: safeguarding citizens’ rights and the rule of law have their roots in that ancient, famous document that we are celebrating this year.

You can read the whole article here.

* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary in print, on air or online.

Read more by or more about , , , or .
This entry was posted in News.
Advert

4 Comments

  • Nobody mentions the treatment of Roma in Romania.

  • Just to play devil’s advocate here: but can not the ECHR be seen as Illiberal as it can not be amended by state legislatures?

  • There’s no inconsistency if you’re intent on taking the country back to the 13th century!

  • Antony Hook Antony Hook 23rd May '15 - 8:42pm

    Alex, no. It’s liberal to put basic liberal values on a footing that no legislature can violate them, as Europe saw too often in the twentieth century.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • Chris Moore
    That A level exam pass rate will soon be at more than 100%....
  • Andy Boddington
    The flaw in your argument is clear. You are saying that 40 years of improvement in education, with better schools, better teachers and parents with better educa...
  • Ann Bailey
    Nonconformistradical 18th Aug '22 - 11:[email protected] Bailey “All before the winter? Good luck with that!”...We might be a good deal further along the road if...
  • Sadhbh
    @Kevin Hawkins Yes, you are of course correct that my definition is simplistic but, I would suggest, it is better than simply classifying poorly paid earners a...
  • Chris Moore
    Where is the capital going to come from for the massive investment necessary to renovate water supply infrastructure? This has been neglected for many many d...