General News

“Our Human Rights must be protected”, says Labour ahead of Human Rights Day

Besi Besemar December 9, 2014

Tomorrow, (December 10) is Human Rights Day.

Purna Sen: Labour Parliamentary candidate for Brighton Pavilion
Purna Sen: Labour Parliamentary candidate for Brighton Pavilion

TO MARK the occasion, Purna Sen, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Brighton Pavilion has joined with Labour’s South East Member of the European Parliament, Anneliese Dodds MEP and the Labour Campaign for Human Rights to warn that basic rights are under attack by the Conservatives.

Andrew Noakes , Director of the Labour Campaign for Human Rights says: “Human rights are an indispensable defence against sexual and gender-based violence. The Human Rights Act was used earlier this year to hold the police to account for failing to investigate rapes committed by the “black cab rapist”, John Worboys, who sexually assaulted over a hundred women. It has been used to ensure women can access shelter to keep them safe from domestic violence. Without the Human Rights Act, which the Conservatives have pledged to repeal, women would be left without the protections they need. Many other vulnerable people, from victims of child abuse to elderly people and the disabled, would also be at risk. That’s why Labour is proud to defend the Human Rights Act.”

Purna Sen, who has served as Head of Human Rights for the Commonwealth Secretariat believes that local as well as national governments have a role to play in protecting human rights.

She added: “Human rights commitments have made a huge contribution to improving the lives of people in the UK. Yet, the Conservatives threaten to repeal the Human Rights Act and make it impossible for Britain to stay in the European convention on human rights.

“Labour‘s campaign on rights is now even more important. Against the background of that sustained attack local commitments, like those of the Labour and Co-operative Group on Brighton and Hove City Council, are all the more significant.

“I am proud to have been involved in drafting our local commitments on Safeguarding, announced on the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women last month. They form part of Labour’s Contract with Brighton residents for next year’s local elections which are on the same day as the General Election.

“Violence that is based on gender and sex is the most dangerous risk that women and girls experience worldwide. But we recognise that all people can be victims of violence.

“We are committed to making Brighton and Hove safe for all by pledging to work together with groups in the city that prevent, support and advocate for those at risk. We want to build a culture of belief in victims and survivors. We will support community-led efforts to eradicate all forms of violence including Female Genital Mutilation, forced marriage and ‘honour’ based crimes.”

Labour’s local commitments include:

• Working to eliminate all forms of violence against women for example by securing the maximum possible funding for groups which prevent violence, support and advocate for those at risk.
• Increasing the safety of children by supporting external reporting by specialist children’s advocacy and engagement charities.
• Establishing a cyber-safety project for Brighton and Hove to equip individuals and communities to feel safe online.
• zero tolerance for hate crimes against members of the LGBT, BAME and faith communities, and to help older people live free from the fear of crime.

• They will challenge extremism and prejudice and promote community cohesion.

• Working to reduce the levels of rough sleeping in the city and anti-social behaviour and crime both from the street community and towards the street community.

Purna added: “No-one should be vulnerable to harm through poverty in our city.

“What policies like these at the local level show is that the rights under threat from the Tories and others are our human rights. They can affect us all. They help protect the rape victims who rely on human rights to get justice, the elderly people suffering abuse in care, vulnerable children, and many others.”

Anneliese Dodds MEP

Anneliese Dodds MEP said: “It was Winston Churchill who worked with other European leaders to create the European convention on human rights following the Second World War and the appalling inhumanity of the Holocaust.

“Today, the rights contained within the ECHR could never be more important. We can debate the ins and outs of a small number of cases, but the fact is that the ECHR has provided us all with the protections we need to live in a civilised society. 

“A huge part of that is the freedom to live without fear of violence, something all too prevalent not only in other countries but also for some particularly vulnerable people, even in Britain.

“That is why I strongly support Purna’s call for respect for the human rights of victims of violence.”