UK laws post-1997 'compromised' traditional liberties: rights group

[JURIST] Under the leadership of successive Labour Party governments the UK Parliament [official website] has systematically infringed on freedoms and rights of individual British citizens over the past decade, according to a report [text; PDF] released Thursday by the Convention of Modern Liberty [advocacy website]. The report, compiled by the University College of London Student Human Rights Programme [advocacy website] cites governmental actions that allegedly limit liberties guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights [text], incorporated by statute by the Human Rights Act of 1998 [text], as well as uncodified freedoms. Such limitations include increased use of electronic surveillance on individuals, right to detain individuals for up to 28 days without a formal charge, and a lowering of the standard of proof for criminal trials. The report further finds:

The attack is as broad as it is deep. Over 25 Acts of Parliament and some 50 individual measures are involved. This document is organised around the articles of the Human Rights Act and also draws on the guarantees of Magna Carta, but it is important to remember that many of the freedoms that are disappearing have never been codified, which makes it all the more difficult to keep track of the attack on liberty
Despite the report's focus on British issues, the Convention also mentioned the growing problem of limitations on civil liberties occurring around the world, particularly in countries that are engaged in counterterrorism efforts.

A panel of human rights experts convened by the International Commission of Jurists [organization website] said Monday that counterterrorism efforts are a serious threat to global human rights [JURIST report]. The panel found that counterterrorism efforts tended to endorse such actions as torture, abduction and unfair trials.


 

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