In the proud tradition of Magna Carta it makes our freedoms real and ensures no petty bureaucrat can encroach upon them. If you’re lucky you won’t ever need to use the Human Rights Act. But it’s protecting you all the same. You, and the thousands of ordinary people in this country who have had to use the Act to protect themselves from the state when it gets it wrong.
Thanks to the Human Rights Act:
- Hospitals were prevented from automatically applying ’Do not resuscitate’ orders to patients without properly consulting them or their families
- An elderly couple who faced enforced separation after 65 years of marriage were able to ensure they could spend the rest of their lives together
- A woman fleeing a violent husband was able to keep her children with her in suitable accommodation.
The overwhelming majority of Human Rights Act challenges and victories – in and out of the Courtroom – are brought by ordinary people in the UK, but we rarely hear their stories. Instead we are told time and again about the tiny minority of controversial cases deemed newsworthy, and hear endless myths and misrepresentations.
What is the real Human Rights Act?
In the proud tradition of Magna Carta and the written protections that followed, it is the Act of Parliament that made our freedoms real and accessible and ensures no government official or petty bureaucrat can encroach upon them. It means thegovernment, the police, local councils and other public authorities must respect individuals’ basic human rights. It protects our fundamental freedoms: the right to a fair trial, freedom from punishment without due process of law, freedom of expression, and many more.
It makes it easier for us to defend our key rights, those we are entitled to under the European Convention on Human Rights. That Convention was agreed after the horrors of the Second World War, demanded by Winston Churchill and born in the hope it would protect people from ever again having their rights trampled on. The Human Rights Act brought these rights home to our own law-making and decision- taking, to our own Courts. The UK is proud of its reputation for championing human rights and the rule of law abroad.
Protecting that reputation means protecting not only the integrity of the Convention system – which does so much to raise standards across the continent – but protecting those rights at home. People around the world are still fighting for the same rights that the Human Rights Act protects here. Do we want to be the generation responsible for making this country less fair and less just?