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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Why isn't this human rights abusing dictator on trial at the UN?

Why isn't this human rights abusing dictator on trial at the UN?

David Cameron, listens to the debate after he made a statement at the Council of Europe


By Macer Hall, Political Editor, Daily Express

DAVID CAMERON delivered an unequivocal warning to EU judges to stop undermining UK defences against terrorism and immigration.

In a defiant speech to European human rights chiefs in Strasbourg, he demanded an end to rulings stopping the Government from deporting suspects and illegal immigrants.

He also said some European Court of Human Rights decisions put the lives of British citizens at risk.

“We still cannot fulfil our duty to our law-abiding citizens to protect them,” the Prime Minister said.

His unexpectedly robust message came at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Strasbourg-based quango that oversees European human rights legislation.

The 25-minute address – heard in silence – was followed by 40 minutes of overwhelmingly hostile questions.

Critics said Britain blocked European progress and blamed the financial crisis on the City of London.

But Mr Cameron said European judges had a “corrosive effect on people’s support for human rights”.

In a reference to the European Court of Human Rights bar to Britain’s bid to kick out the Al Qaeda-supporting radical Islamic cleric Abu Qatada, the Prime Minister said the court was making it virtually impossible to deport any terror suspects.

“In Britain we have gone through all reasonable national processes including painstaking international agreements about how they should be treated and scrutiny by our own courts and yet we are still unable to deport them,” he said.

He added: “Protecting a country from terrorism is one of the most important tasks for any government. Again, no one should argue that you defend our systems of rights and freedom by suspending those freedoms.

“But we do have a real problem when it comes to foreign nationals who threaten our security.”

Mr Cameron also raised concerns that the European Court of Human Rights undermined national governments’ controls of their borders.

He argued that there was general agreement across the 47 nations in the Council of Europe that the court had gone too far.

“All states agreed that the court was, in some cases, too ready to substitute its judgment for that of reasonable national processes and all agreed that was not its role. In other words, it should not see itself as an immigration tribunal,” he said.

“At the heart of this concern is not antipathy to human rights; it is anxiety that the concept of human rights is being distorted.

“As a result, for too many people, the very concept of rights is in danger of slipping from something noble to something discredited – and that should be of deep concern to us all.”

Mr Cameron said: “We are not and never will be a country that walks on by while human rights are trampled into the dust. This has a lot to do with Britain’s national character – a love of freedom and an instinctive loathing of over-mighty authority.” Mr Cameron warned that the court was getting bogged down in tens of thousands of trivial cases.

He cited a case of a claimant who took a bus company to the European Court of Human Rights for around £75 in compensation for an allegedly uncomfortable trip.

He urged the respect of laws made by democratically elected parliaments and cited a ruling from the court calling for the scrapping of Britain’s blanket ban on prisoners voting in elections. “The decision made at a national level should be treated with respect,” he said.

At his conclusion, some politicians applauded politely but many sat on their hands or tinkered with hand held devices.

During the question-and-answer session following his speech, Lithuanian socialist Birute Vesaite sparked cheers from fellow Euro politicians by telling Mr Cameron: “I have a feeling that the world is governed not by democratically elected parliament but by the banks. The big part of them are situated in London.”

Greek socialist Konstantinos Vrettos called on Britain to do more to share the “unbearable burden” of immigration into the European Union. And a string of Left-wing members attacked Mr Cameron for blocking proposals for an EU financial transaction tax.

Mr Cameron was snubbed by the European Court of Human Rights’ top judge, British-born Sir Nicolas Bratza. Officials said he was “too busy” to meet Mr Cameron, despite writing a scathing article earlier this week about demands from British politicians for reform of the court.


To follow...

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