Thecanary.co reports: The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is carrying out its periodic review of the UK’s commitment to international human rights law. So it asked hundreds of campaign groups, charities and organisations to submit evidence [pdf p13]. And the complaints made by these bodies are damning.
The Tories: a damning assessment..............
They include include [pdf]:
- That the UK leaving the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) would “undermine” and “erode” human rights.
- And that it would also pose a “threat” to previous UN rulings in this area.
- That, after the EU referendum, ethnicity-related hate crime rose 57%.
- Overcrowding in prisons.
- Cuts to legal aid.
- “Very little” action on tackling human trafficking.
- The UK government’s failure to address the “pervasive” issue of violence against women and girls.
- Gender inequality.
- A failure to tackle child poverty.
Organisations also raised [pdf] concerns about:
- The use of immigration detention centres; specifically relating to length of incarceration and the imprisonment of vulnerable people.
- A “reluctance” by the government to adhere to UN conventions on the rights of migrant workers.
- Treatment of whistleblower Julian Assange, which raised “serious concerns” about the government’s “commitment to the international rule of law”.
- The government making “little progress” on dealing with discrimination; also that ethnic minorities were “over-represented” in the criminal system (i.e. ‘racial profiling’).
- UK social care needing a “significant injection of funding” to protect older people’s human rights.
- The fact that the government needed to take “immediate” action over air pollution.
- Counter-terrorism and surveillance laws, and the Investigatory Powers Bill, failing to comply with human rights standards.
- The restraint of children in custody increasing, and the fact that England was of the few countries in Europe to issue life sentences to children.
Making the rich richer
Furthermore, other complaints [pdf] included:
- That the use of ‘secret courts’ was contrary to the UK’s supposed commitment to international treaties.
- That there should be a judge-led inquiry into UK involvement in abuse of prisoners abroad.
- The criminalisation of environmental protesters.
- That the Lobbying Act was restricting the work of charities.
- The Trade Union Act “undermining” the power of unions.
- That, while cutting welfare, the government “had reduced the tax burden of the wealthiest earners and businesses”.
- The use of food banks was the biggest area in which the UK had “regressed” since 2012. And that the government was failing to “eliminate” food insecurity.
- That reforms to welfare had “seen a regression in the welfare system’s ability to tackle poverty, with a negative impact on vulnerable social groups”.
The UK government was also criticised [pdf] for:
- The “negative impact” of UK drug laws.
- Ignoring previously “strong” recommendations from the UN, and letting child poverty increase.
- Allowing disabled people’s human rights to “regress” because of welfare reforms.
- Allowing “the use of hate speech by politicians and media [to create] a climate in which racism and hate speech was thought acceptable”
But the UK government either [pdf] denied or said, in essence, that work was in progress on all these criticisms. The UN will release its findings and recommendations on Tuesday 9 May.
Another day, another UN report
But we’ve been here before. As The Canary has documented, the UN twice reported on the UK government in 2016. And it found that the Tories had committed “grave” and “systematic” violations of disabled people’s human rights; while also eroding the rights of single parents, minority communities, and the poorest and most vulnerable people in society.
The Tories’ response to both those reports? To simply shrug their shoulders and say they didn’t believe them. So the response to this latest round of damning criticism will probably be much the same. But at the time of The Canary publishing this article, only Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik had reported this story.
It is now down to the public to decide if they want to live in a country where their government can commit such flagrant abuses against its citizens. And then, a decision must be made at the ballot box on 8 June.
the EU Agenda, in plain text, fact finding info, that we had for a while,
REFERENDUMS HELD ON EUROPEAN MATTERS: 6
1972: EU - Accession (Yes 83 % - No 17 % - Turnout 71 %)
1987: Single European Act (Yes 70 % - No 30 % - Turnout 44 %)
1992: Treaty of Maastricht (Yes 69 % - No 31 % - Turnout 57 %)
1998: Treaty of Amsterdam (Yes 62 % - No 38 % - Turnout 56 %)
2001: Treaty of Nice (No 54 % - Yes 46 % - Turnout 35 %)
2002: Treaty of Nice (Yes 63 % - No 37 % - Turnout 49 %)
CONSTITUTIONAL CONDITIONS - Constitution of Ireland
Binding referendum provided for any transfer of power because that requires a constitutional amendment which makes a referendum mandatory.
ARTICLES ABOUT INTERNATIONAL TREATIES, REFERENDUM AND CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
Regulation about a special transfer of sovereignty to EU:
Approval of transfer of sovereignty without effect of constitutional amendment:
Approval of transfer of sovereignty with effect of constitutional amendment:
Approval of constitutional amendment:
Other constitutional regulations about referendums:
RATING AND DEBATE
The referendum in Ireland had been set to take place in autumn. But the Irish government had not announced a specific referendum date. The Yes campaign to approve the Constitution is very broad: Ireland's largest opposition party, Fine Gael, will campaign for the Constitution, and the Labour Party is likely to do the same. One political party which will actively campaign against the new Constitution is Sinn Fein. Its spokesperson on international affairs, Aengus O'Snodaigh, said the main concern was that the Constitution would further erode Ireland's sovereignty in a range of areas. The Eurobarometer opinion poll in January 2005 showed that only 28% of Irish people supported the Constitution. This level of support put Ireland fourth lowest in the EU, just above Sweden, Cyprus and the UK.
Eurobarometer (2006), The Future of Europe - Results for Ireland, Special Eurobarometer 251, Fieldwork: 23/02 – 15/03 2006. (PDF)
Eurobarometer report, (February 2004): 80% rather agree, 11% rather disagree*
*Are you rather agree or rather disagree with the statement: The European Union must adopt a Constitution.
Eurobarometer report, (January 2005): 28% favourable, 5% opposed*
*Based on what you know, would you say that you are in favour of or opposed to the draft European Constitution?
Eurobarometer report, (July 2005): 54% favourable, 15% opposed*
*Based on the question, are you for or against a constitution for the European Union?
09.09.2005 Irish still undecided about EU constitution: study. EUbusiness.com
23.06.2005 Ireland preparing discussion paper on EU constitution. EUbusiness.com
21.06.2005 Ireland to press on with EU constitution referendum plans. EUbusiness.com
07.06.2005 Ireland to go ahead with vote on EU constitution. EUbusiness.com
03.06.2005 Irish FM casts doubt on country's EU referendum. EUbusiness.com
26.05.2005 Ireland publishes laws to pave way for EU constitution vote. EUbusiness.com
06.05.2005 Dublin considers curbing referendums on EU issues. EUobserver.com
28.10.2003 According to the Irish Constitution, Article 46, the government is required to put any issue to a referendum if it will alter the Constitution. EUobserver.com
vote in the national parliament + Referendum
STATE OF THE PROCEDURE
The referendum was postponed
DATE OF REFERENDUM
RELEVANT DOCUMENTS AND MATERIAL
Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, White Paper on the European Constitution, 13.10.2005. (PDF)
European Commission’s Representation in Ireland, Analysis of the Irish results of a Eurobarometer opinion poll, 09.09.2005. (PDF)
The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, statement on the European Council meeting, Houses of the Oireachtas, 21.06.05. (HTML)
Link: Legislative process with regard to the 28th Amendment of the Constitution Bill (HTML)
Irish Government, Twenty eighth amendment of the Constitution Bill 2005 and the Expla..., 26.05.2005. (PDF)
The National Forum On Europe, Gweedore Debates the EU Constitution, 25.04.2005.
Link: Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, Information regarding the European Constitution
Irish Parliament, Committee on European Affairs, Constitutional Treaty: Presentation, 02.03.2005, (HTML)
Irish Parliament, Committee on European Affairs, Ratification of the EU Constitutional Treaty: Presentation, 09.02.2005, (HTML)
Irish Parliament, Committee on European Affairs, EU Constitution: Presentation, 02.02.2005, (HTML)
Brown, A. (2005), Country Report: Ireland, EPIN Ratification Monitor, February 2005.
Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, Explanatory Paper on the Constitutional Treaty, October 2004.