The UN Human Rights Committee has published ‘Concluding Observations on the UK’ following the recent hearing in Geneva on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The full document can be found at http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CCPR%2fC%2fGBR%2fCO%2f7&Lang=en
The first principal matter of concern is abolition of the Human Rights Act 1998:
“… Finally, the Committee is also concerned about a reported plan to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998 and replace it with a new Bill of Rights for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and that such a development will weaken the degree of protection afforded to the rights enshrined in the Covenant, within the domestic legal order (art 2)
The Committee then states that the UK should:
“(a) Engage in consultation with stakeholders at all levels to identify ways to give greater effect to the Covenant in all jurisdictions that fall under its authority or control or with regard to which it has formally undertaken to implement the Covenant.
(b) Ensure that the Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland incorporates all the rights enshrined in the Covenant and expedite the process of its adoption;
(c) Ensure that any legislation passed in lieu of the Human Rights Act 1998, were such legislation to be passed, would be aimed at strengthening the status of international human rights, including the provisions of the Covenant, in the domestic legal order and provide effective protection of those rights across all jurisdictions.”
The HRCS will be contacting members and supporters shortly about a meeting to discuss the Concluding Observations in more detail, and plan ahead for their implementation in Scotland. The same meeting will also be an opportunity to plan ahead for the HRCS submission on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) which should be submitted for 28th August 2015. We look forward to working with members on these projects.