Monday, 4 March 2013

Human Rights and Europe: Bad ideas?

It is the never ending problem of Europe that has been bugging politicians lately. Ordinary people, and politicians, have both been getting angry with the perceived power of the EU, as well as the the ever-extending power of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). These are two completely different institutions, but the government has the same problem with both: they can't decide whether or not we are better in or out.

It seems that someone has decided to be brave enough to make a decision. The next Conservative party manifesto, according to Theresa May, will contain a promise to pull out of the ECHR. Headlines such as, "A great day for British justice", are already being splashed across the newspapers, with people apparently being delighted that we have finally decided to dump the waste of space that interfered with out judicial system.

And I so want to agree. I really do, but I can't get past the fact that the ECHR is about protecting people from their governments, the very thing that the world needs an international court to do. We have the International Criminal Court in order to deal with war crimes and horrific power abuses, so why shouldn't we have our own court that protects people from their governments getting too big for their boots?

After the war, the world new that it had to change. It knew that it had screwed up really badly, so it came up with these international courts in order to ensure that never again will a government be able to tear up the rights of its people. They made sure every government realised its responsibility was to serve. If you take that away, then you are taking away the security that Europe had put so much work into creating.

It is a broken system, with poor decisions made by judges that are in some cases not qualified, but it is a great idea. Pulling out is like dumping the whole thing down the drain when reform is a much better option. Should we really be abandoning the protection of human rights so easily?

There is a lot of anger for the ECHR for all the stupid decisions that it has made, but I don't think that we should give up just yet. After all, nothing in politics is perfect.

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