[JURIST] UK Prime Minister David Cameron [official profile] on Monday renewed his call for the country to repeal the Human Rights Act [materials] and institute its own bill of rights in an article for the Sun newspaper [Sun op-ed]. Cameron made the call the same day he gave a speech [text] celebrating the 800th anniversary [JURIST feature] of the signing of the Magna Carta [materials], a historical UK document seen as one of the first statements of human rights. Cameron said he favored a new law on rights because the Human Rights Act, based on the European Convention on Human Rights [text], gave too much deference to authorities outside the country. Amnesty International UK [official website] (AI) head Allan Hogarth criticized [blog post] Cameron’s call, saying human rights do not differ country-by-country.
The UK government has recently been criticized by human rights groups for its surveillance and other anti-terrorism measures. In April, AI announce an application [text, PDF] to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website], bringing claims of indiscriminate surveillance practices against the UK government. In February, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal [official website] found [JURIST report] that the UK’s mass surveillance of internet activities violates human rights law. Last July, civil liberties groups sued [JURIST report] the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service known as MI6, alleging that the agency accesses data from undersea cables in violation of the rights to private life and freedom of expression.