Human Rights a Challenge for Us All, Says Cherie Booth

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Byline: BY ALAN WESTON Daily Post Staff

CHERIE BOOTH last night said that equal stress needed to be placed on individuals' responsibilities as well as their human rights.

The leading barrister and wife of the Prime Minister was in Liverpool to speak on controversial human rights legislation in the 10th anniversary Roscoe Lecture Series, held at the Philharmonic Hall.

She was responding to a question by Merseyside police Chief Constable Bernard Hogan-Howe, who asked if she thought more emphasis needed to be placed on people's responsibilities, as well as their rights.

He added: "People can quote their rights, but I'm not so sure we are explicit about the responsibilities they have to each other, to the community, and to the criminal justice system."

Ms Booth said there needed to be more public education about what human rights legislation meant.

In her lecture, she said: "Human rights are not a one-way street, but carry responsibilities as well. The danger is that people will see human rights as harmful.

"The key challenge is for people to realise that human rights matter to them in their everyday lives. They're not just for bad people to use against the rest of us."

She added: "It's absurd that human rights are thought of as somehow alien to the British way of life, and have been imposed on us by a maligned Europe.

"It's time for a concerted campaign to emphasise the importance of human rights. We need a sensible debate, and then we can restore the magic of human rights, when they were a universal good improving all our lives."

She also defended the application of human rights to groups such as prisoners, saying: "People who commit crimes must be punished. …