Rights Info has only been going four months but has already begun to establish itself in the human rights world. It is dedicated to providing accurate information on the subject of human rights. This is extremely important now because the present government would like to repeal the Human Rights Act (HRA) and replace it with their own Human Rights and Responsibilities act (or whatever it may be called). This has been promised for several years and we await details in due course.
The government is egged on by a media which regularly produces inaccurate or exaggerated stories of the workings of the act, often tying it into the European Convention on Human Rights, presenting it as an unwarranted intrusion into our legal processes. The fact that it was British and French lawyers who prepared the ECHR – at Churchill’s behest – based on basic principles of justice established over many years, seems to have been forgotten. As we have noted before, the act is of great benefit to ordinary citizens in the UK who use it to secure justice from authorities.
Rights Info has been providing a source of information to counter the tide of misinformation from newspapers and some politicians. They have just launched a similar exercise to provide information about the European Court which also gets a bad press. It is called The European Court of Human Rights Uncovered. One of the examples it gives concerns the total number of applications and judgements. There have been 22,781 applications against the UK. Number of judgements is just 513 of which the court found at least one violation to be 301. 301 over 22,781 is 1.32%. The Sun newspaper reports this as ‘UK loses 60% of cases’.
Terrorism cases get a lot of publicity with the impression given that they are winning cases all over the place. In 40 years (1975 – 2015) out of 297 cases, just 14 were terrorists. 203 were ‘other people’ that is ordinary citizens in their fights against authorities of one kind or another.
Over the coming months we are likely to see an increase in bad news stories about the HRA and the European Court as the government seeks to soften up the public ahead of its plans to abolish it. It is useful to know that there is a source of accurate information to go to.