Last December, the UK government launched a consultation on its proposal for a Human Rights Act Reform: A Modern Bill of Rights, stating its commitment to ‘updating the Human Rights Act 1998’ by replacing it with a Bill of Rights ‘in order to restore a proper balance between the rights of individuals, personal responsibility and the wider public interest’.
Human rights are an integral part of Jewish history faith and tradition. Looking through this lens, we do not agree with the premise of this consultation. The Human Rights Act does not need replacing with a Bill of Rights. Indeed, the Human Rights Act is a Bill of Rights.
The government’s proposal for a new Bill of Rights reduces some rights and makes those remaining harder to access. It creates a hierarchy in the entitlement of rights. We are very concerned at this attempt to move power from the people to the executive. Human rights are essential to protect minorities. Losing protection for minorities leads to a loss of protection for all.
We already have a Bill of Rights called the Human Rights Act. We believe that the government’s focus should be to educate, implement and enforce our Human Rights Act more effectively.
René Cassin’s full submission to the Human Rights Act Reform: A Modern Bill of Rights – endorsed by 12 rabbis and 29 communal organisations and individuals – can be accessed here.
We also endorsing Liberty’s detailed submission, which you can read here.
Read Debora Singer’s blog – The Jewish community says: “Hands off the Human Rights Act!” – in Jewish News, 14 March 2022.