The Conservative government’s post-Brexit assault on human rights won’t just affect the UK but could harm developing countries too, according to Amnesty International.

The organisation has warned that the Tories’ refusal to retain the EU’s Fundamental Charter of Rights as a part of UK law could be accompanied by an attempt to downplay human rights internationally, in order to gain favourable trade deals with foreign countries.

The Tories fought off an amendment to their EU Withdrawal Bill last month, rejecting an attempt to retain the provisions of the charter tabled in the name of Jeremy Corbyn, by 317 votes to 299.

This means that, from March 29, 2019, you can kiss goodbye to the following rights:

  • The right to a private life,
  • Freedom of speech,
  • Equality provisions, and
  • Employment rights governing how workers are treated.

Here’s what Amnesty has to say:

A rush to sign new trade deals means there is a growing, and very real, threat that the UK will ‘soft-pedal’ on human rights globally.

Our government’s failure to retain the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in domestic law will weaken the protections currently available to people. Furthermore, protections such as the right to equality, are also at risk.

But the problems run deep beyond our borders. The UK’s so-called ‘Global Britain’ drive to secure new trade deals as we prepare to leave the EU is leading to a heightened risk of the UK ministers downplaying human rights issues. They could be doing this even where countries currently have extremely poor human rights records.

In fact, it’s already happening. Just last month, China’s national newspaper The Global Times praised Prime Minister Theresa May for ‘resisting radical pressure at home’ to raise concerns over the treatment of democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Instead of shining a light on these serious abuses, May is focusing on trade and investment links with the world’s second-largest economy.

The UK needs to uphold the principles of fair trials, free speech and decent labour standards. As Brexit gets under way, we must not trade away our values and rights in our eagerness to sign new deals.

2017 was a year in which governments around the world were shamelessly turning the clock back on decades of hard-won protections. From the United Kingdom to the United States, and Iraq to South Sudan and Myanmar, it was a very troubling year for human rights.

Source: Brexit Bill: A risk to your human rights | Amnesty International UK


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