The process of adopting a bill of rights could permit that period of consultation, which Labour avoided but Canada and South Africa undertook, before embracing a charter of rights that provided a statement of the fundamental values that define their democracies. It would allow consideration of rights not included in the Human Rights Act such as stronger equality provisions, protection for children or environmental rights. There could be a debate about entrenching a bill of rights, although the approach used in the act allowed parliament, rather than the courts, the final say on legislation. Such a bill could attract popular support. But we must beware of leaders bearing gifts which may serve their political interests above the rights and needs of the people.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Enshrine these rights
Francesca Klug thinks that Labour's fatal mistake with the Human Rights Act was the lack of public consultation, which led to the current round of rights-bashing from tabloids and politicians: