How do we get around a problem when a so called human right actually permits a wrong, when the Human Rights Act is used to the advantage of a criminal to remain here despite their being here illegally and having committed a crime? I’m thinking in particular of the abuse of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) which appears in two pieces of British legislation the Human Rights Act and the 2007 UK Borders Act, which allow someone here illegally to remain because they have the right to a family life even if they’ve committed a serious crime such as in the case of Aso Mohammed Ibrahim and Asim Parris One who killed a young girl whilst driving illegally and then drove off, the other a drug dealer.
The Home Office this weekend confirmed it was to launch a consultation on the “family route” used by around one fifth of immigrants from outside the European Union to get into Britain every year – a total of 49,000.
Campaigners for change say the consultation was likely to become more wide ranging – and could pave the way for moves to remove the contentious “right to respect for private and family life”, enshrined in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), from the two pieces of British legislation in which it appears.
Consultations of course take time, it might take years and I somehow doubt it will be applied retroactively. Yet it is the legislation itself which is flawed, it’s overly complex and set all rights on a level playing field instead of grading them from basic to full.
What I suggest is needed is a basic set of rights, applicable to all, stuff like.
- freedom of speech and expression freedom from arrest or detention except under authority of law, freedom from cruel, inhumane or degrading punishments and the right to a fair trial by a competent and independent court
- freedom to enjoy lawfully acquired property
- equality of opportunity (including freedom from discrimination)
- freedom of assembly and association (including public meeting and withdrawal of labour)
- freedom of thought, conscience and religion freedom to contract
- freedom to engage in a trade, profession or occupation
- freedom of movement within a nation and across national borders.
The other more complex stuff would need distinctions between those rights which are essential conditions of freedom and those which have become human rights only by virtue of being declared to be such, one example being the right to a family life so beloved of illegal immigrants though such rights, are not really rights at all, simply social needs and shouldn’t have be enshrined as a right at all.
As a convicted criminal though you should only have very basic rights, basically the right to be housed and fed safely and securely at Her Majesties pleasure until your sentence is over. You get no legal aid other than to appeal, you do not get to vote and you do not get special treatment over and above that of any other prisoner save only that which is earned within the system.
General declarations of human rights are great things, but there does need to be qualitative distinctions between those rights which are essential conditions of freedom and those which have become human rights only by virtue of being declared to be such.
This is something the legislators in the EU and the fools/traitors in our own government who blindly give assent to such laws have foisted on us to our detriment.
Sooner we leave, sooner we can sort it, but until we leave, we’re at the mercy of a set of laws that give criminals exactly the same rights as the law abiding with no qualified distinctions in-between.