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Scotland rights body rejects UK bill of rights plans

The Scottish Human Rights Commission [official website] on Monday condemned [text, DOC] plans for a UK Bill of Rights [materials; JURIST news archive]. The Bill of Rights would replace the UK Human Rights Act [text, PDF], but Commission leader Alan Miller [official profile] said the new legislation would weaken civil liberties rather than protect them. Instead, he argued, the UK should adopt more international human rights conventions into the already existing Human Rights Act:

The status quo is not acceptable either. SHRC's recommendation is that all of the UK's international human rights obligations are incorporated into domestic law, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which is overdue. These protections for the public are all the more necessary in the present times of austerity when budgetary decisions need to be made in ways which do not disproportionately impact upon the most vulnerable in our community.
The UK Bill of Rights Commission was appointed by the Ministry of Justice [official websites] and should conclude its work next year.

In February, former UK Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf warned that a British Bill of Rights, as proposed by various members of the British government, would conflict [JURIST report] with the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF], which the UK has incorporated into its law. While the government has not stated an intention to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, Woolf has warned that continued adherence to the convention combined with the creation of a British Bill of Rights will create complications for judges in determining which to follow and further the existing conflict between the UK and the European Court of Human Rights [official website].

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