Govt plans to amend Human Rights Act would contravene the European Convention on Human Rights, experts warn

The Conservative Party has proposed to amend the Human Rights Act so as to prevent the investigation of British soldiers accused of the murder of Irish citizens during the Troubles.

15 Nov 2019| News

As well as harming the UK’s international reputation, experts have warned this move would contravene the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and lead to the UK leaving the agreement entirely, putting everybody at risk.

Human Rights lawyer, Mark Stephens, told the Independent: “The UK has been a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights since 1958 and if we want to remain part of that convention any amendment of domestic legislation will have to be compliant with it.”

Tory plans would mean changing the wording of the Human Rights Act to exclude deaths in Northern Ireland before the year 2000, which would fly in the face of Article 2 of the ECHR, which obligates governments to thoroughly investigate all deaths of individuals caused by agents of the State.

Former Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, warned that falling foul of the ECHR could lead to the UK’s withdrawal as a signatory.

This would allow the government to make any changes it wishes to the Human Rights Act, which leaves everybody at risk.

Grieve said he was “staggered any government would consider” intervening in the prosecution of people thought to be in contravention of human rights laws.