So, What Has the European Court of Human Rights Ever Done for Us.?

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), December 30, 2016 | Go to article overview

So, What Has the European Court of Human Rights Ever Done for Us.?


The ECHR was established in the wake of World War II to ensure that Europe would never again be ravaged by the gross abuse of human rights. But it has fierce critics and Theresa May has made no secret of her frustration with the Strasbourg-based judges.

| Why all the fuss? Won't we leave the ECHR when we pull out of the EU? No, the Court is not part of the European Union.

The Court is there to ensure human rights are respected in the 47 member states of the Council of Europe, which is a distinct body founded in 1949. It is made up of not just the 28 members of the EU but countries including Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Britain can expect flak if it does anything to weaken a Court which exists to defend the rights of more than 800 million people - especially at a time when there are deep concerns about civil liberties in several member states.

| Why would Britain consider turning its back on a Court it helped establish? There was fury in 2012 when the judges stopped the UK deporting radical cleric Abu Qatada to Jordan because of concerns he could face a trail in which evidence obtained through torture would be used against him.

There was also frustration that the Court was hearing a multitude of cases instead of dealing with major violations. David Cameron warned in 2012 that it was in danger of becoming a "small claims court".

The Court has also stirred anger by saying that prisoners should not be banned from voting. …

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