[JURIST] Britain's top judge has said that disregarding human rights will only breed resentment among immigrants to the UK and fuel support for terrorist efforts. In an address [text] delivered late last week at the University of Hertfordshire, Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips [BBC profile] endorsed the increasingly-controversial Human Rights Act [text; backgrounder; JURIST news archive], and stressed that the judiciary was not undermining the will of parliament by handing down adverse rulings against violating legislation, but rather was just doing its job. Phillips said:
Since the Second World War we in Britain have welcomed to the United Kingdom millions of immigrants from all corners of the globe, many of them refugees from countries where human rights were not respected. It is essential that they, and their children and grandchildren, should be confident that their adopted country treats them without discrimination and with due respect for their human rights. If they feel that they are not being fairly treated, their consequent resentment will inevitably result in the growth of those who, actively or passively, are prepared to support the terrorists who are bent on destroying the fabric of our society. The Human Rights Act is not merely their safeguard, it is a vital part of the foundation of our fight against terrorism.
Relations between the British government and judiciary have become increasingly strained since the July 2005 London bombings, with Labour Party politicians from Prime Minister Tony Blair [JURIST report] on down publicly taking judges to task for compromising government anti-terror laws in various ways. Several senior judges and lawyers have fired back, accusing the government of overstepping its bounds. Blair and Phillips clashed over the issue [JURIST report] late last year. BBC News has more.