Lib Dems lead defence of human rights

The Welsh Liberal Democrats received the backing of the the National Assembly to unite against plans by the Tory UK Government to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998.

In their 2015 manifesto the Conservative Party pledges to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a ‘British Bill of Rights’.  In coalition, Liberal Democrats blocked plans to repeal the Human Rights Act and leave the European Convention on Human Rights, but now David Cameron is re-heating proposals to scrap fundamental human rights protections.

Leading a Welsh Lib Dem debate in the National Assembly, which states that the Assembly “firmly opposes any attempt by the UK Government to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998’, Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams AM said 

“These human rights laws protect the most vulnerable in society: they have stopped the state spying on us, helped victims of rape or domestic abuse, supported peaceful protest, protected soldiers, guarded against slavery and provided answers for grieving families.

“Scrapping the Human Rights Act would undermine our Welsh devolution settlement and be a retrograde step in the promotion and protection of human rights.  It would only make the system more complex with one set of laws applying to devolved issues and another to non-devolved issues.  Far from breaking the link with the ECHR, scrapping the Human Rights Act would make it harder to pursue cases domestically and would force people to use the Strasbourg route instead.

“There is certainly a debate to be had about how we can improve the ECHR and promote a deeper understanding of human rights.  However this must be framed within sensible debate and not nationalistic furore spearheaded by right-wing politicians for short term political gain.

“The Liberal Democrats blocked David Cameron from scrapping the Human Rights Act in Government and we must stop him again now.  That is why we are leading this debate today, calling on the National Assembly to unite to stop the Conservatives riding roughshod over our hard-won rights.”


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