Brussels Threatens to Suspend Security Cooperation With UK Over Its Drive to Reform Human Rights Act

Human Rights  - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.12.2021
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Touching upon HRA reform on Tuesday, British Justice Secretary Dominic Raab announced that the UK will "remain a party to the European Convention on Human Rights" but that the country is eager "to strengthen typically British rights like freedom of speech and trial by jury".
The European Commission has warned that the UK's drive to reform its Human Rights Act (HRA) may indicate the end of a key part of the Brexit deal to fight cross-border crime.

"Security cooperation can be suspended in case of violations by the UK of its commitment for continued adherence to the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) and its domestic enforcement", the European Commission said.

An unnamed senior EU source was cited by the Daily Mail as saying that "we will follow all of these things [related to the HRA reform] very closely'.
UK Houses of Parliament - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.03.2020
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The remarks follow the UK government announcing in a press release on Tuesday that the HRA would be revised in line with Bill of Rights-related plans unveiled by Justice Secretary Dominic Raab.

According to Downing Street, the goal of the HRA reform is to achieve "a proper balance between individuals' rights, personal responsibility, and the wider public interest", something that would be resolved "while retaining the UK's commitment to the ECHR", also known as the Strasbourg Court.

The government stressed that the proposed measures aim to revive parliament's role as "the ultimate decision-maker on laws impacting the UK population" and "put an end to us gold plating any decisions made by Strasbourg when we incorporate them into UK law".
"It will restore a common-sense approach in vital areas such as the UK's ability to deport foreign criminals, like drug dealers and terrorists, who too often exploit human rights laws to avoid deportation", the press release underlined.
© AP Photo / Toby MelvilleIn this Thursday, Sept. 1, 2020 file photo, Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab arrives to attend a cabinet meeting of senior government ministers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office FCO in London.
In this Thursday, Sept. 1, 2020 file photo, Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab arrives to attend a cabinet meeting of senior government ministers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office FCO in London. - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.12.2021
In this Thursday, Sept. 1, 2020 file photo, Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab arrives to attend a cabinet meeting of senior government ministers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office FCO in London.

Raab, for his part, explained that Britain's push to reform the Human Rights Act "will strengthen typically British rights like freedom of speech and trial by jury, while preventing abuses of the system and adding a healthy dose of common sense".

The justice secretary described freedom of speech as "a quintessentially British right, the freedom that guards all the others". According to him, freedom of speech "does sometimes mean the freedom to say things which others may not wish to hear".
Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron takes part in a human rights protest in central London on May 30, 2015 to demonstrate against the Conservative government's proposal to scrap the Human Rights Act. - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.12.2016
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Raab also said that the reform would "sharpen the separation of powers", making the UK Supreme Court, not Strasbourg, "the ultimate judicial arbiter when it comes to interpreting the ECHR in this country".
The ECHR is incorporated into British domestic legislation by the Human Rights Act, which was introduced in 1998 and has been repeatedly criticised by those who argue that the document puts European law ahead of British legislation.
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