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A government panel mulling over including socio-economic rights in Human Rights act

Date: (12 July 2012)    |    

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A government panel of experts is said to be considering whether socio-economic rights could be included in the hugely controversial existing Human Rights Act.
The inclusion would mean the right to claim benefits and enjoy a comfortable standard of living on the taxpayers money would become a human rights law. It would allow the unemployed to take the government to court if ministers did not provide a minimum standard of living.
The ‘Commission on a Bill of Rights’, was set up by David Cameron to end the rampant abuse of human rights laws.
The hugely controversial Labour’s Human Rights Act was originally planned to be scrapped by the Prime Minister to be replaced with a UK Bill of Rights to stop abuse of the system by criminals and those who refused to work.
But, after being forced into a coalition with the Liberal Democrats he had to downgrade his pledge. Instead, he established the commission to decide the best way forward. Yesterday, despite deliberating for 15 months, the panel said it had not decided whether to recommend any change to the Act.
But the commission said that in the event of opting for a Bill of Rights it wanted to know from the pro human rights groups on whether any more human rights could be added to the act which has to be respected by the parliament and the courts.
Among other proposals which could be suggested the most contentious seems to be the socio economic rights and environmental rights.
On the environment, the panel suggests that everyone should have the right to live in a world that ‘is not harmful to their health or well-being’ where there is ‘secure ecologically sustainable development and the use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development’.
MPs said they were hugely disappointed with the report, which also suggests the courts having the power to strike down laws made by Parliament.
Tory MP Dominic Raab said instead of scaling down the rights inflation and compensation culture the Commission had churned out proposals for even more human rights giving judges more power without democratic accountability.
Mr Cameron voiced his frustration in May at slow progress on his plans to scrap the Human Rights Act.
He blamed delays on the compromises made necessary by being in a coalition, but said he remained determined to press ahead with the change.

 

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