HILLSBOROUGH proved that the Human Rights Act is ordinary people’s last resort when justice fails, campaigners said this morning as they launched a campaign to protect the law.
The coalition of over 130 civil society organisations stated it would fight against Tory plans to abolish the Act and replace it with a weaker “British Bill of Rights.”
Among the signatories stood trade union giants TUC, Unite and PCS, as well as human rights groups Amnesty International and Reprieve, LGBT rights campaign Stonewall and domestic violence charity Refuge.
A spokeswoman for Unite told the Star the union was “proud to support the pledge to save our Human Rights Act.”
She said: “This government’s attack on trade unions has shown that it is no friend of working people.
“Our basic rights to strike, organise and to peaceful protest must be protected in a free and democratic society.
“It is what drove Unite, along with other organisations, to challenge the government’s anti-trade union Bill every step of the way.
“It is why we will stand shoulder to shoulder with Amnesty International UK and others to defend our Human Rights Act now.”
Details of the government’s new Bill are set to be announced in today’s Queen Speech, but known outlines are expected to diminish the protection of British citizens as a whole.
According to the coalition, the Bill would also threaten “the very concept of the universality of human rights,” creating an unbalanced society where some matter more than others.
Amnesty UK director Kate Allen said: “Hillsborough shows how vital the Human Rights Act is to ordinary people when all other avenues of justice fail.
“We mustn’t let politicians tear up those hard-won protections.”
She said “walking away from the Human Rights Act would also threaten to bring down the crucial peace agreement in Northern Ireland.
“The government should leave the Human Rights Act alone — it’s ours, it’s working, it’s needed.”
A pledge signed by the 135 groups, reaffirms the “universal, indivisible and inalienable” principle of human rights.
“Human rights underpin our democracy, hold governments to account and require that everyone’s dignity is equally respected,” it read.