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  • Dr Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos

Scrapping European human rights is as great a threat to democracy as terrorism

In a new blog for 'Open Democracy', Julian Petley, BiE expert and Professor of Screen Media and Journalism in the School of Arts at Brunel University London, argues that now is the time to defend human rights in the fight against terror – not throw them away.

He explains that Theresa May's 'chilling pronouncements' after the London Bridge attacks were 'entirely inappropriate in a democracy', while they also 'flatly contradict[ed] the commitment in her own manifesto not to rip up or amend the Human Rights Act before Brexit, nor to withdraw from the Convention for at least five years'.

Prof Petley comments in his blog on suggestions that the UK should resort to internment of suspected terrorists, pointing out how these would be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

But this happened before, he notes, 'twice in relatively recent times'. The UK relied on internment and the use of degrading and inhumane treatment, arguably torture as well, in Northern Ireland, while it again resorted to indefinite detention without trial after 9/11. He concludes:

"When it comes to dealing with terrorism, it does appear as if British governments are quite incapable of learning from past mistakes, namely reaching for tough-sounding ‘solutions’ which are both counter-productive (in that by provoking anger and resentment in certain people they drive them straight into the arms of the terrorists) and unworkable (in that they are incompatible with both domestic law and our international commitments, such as the European Convention)."

You can read the full article on Open Democracy here.

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