UN torture investigator says UK plan to scrap Human Rights Act is ‘dangerous’

Guardian: The UN special rapporteur on torture has accused David Cameron of a “cold-hearted ” approach to the migration crisis, warning that plans to scrap the Human Rights Act risk subverting international obligations designed to protect people fleeing persecution.

Juan Méndez said the UK’s intention to replace the act with a British bill of rights was a “dangerous and pernicious” development. Méndez said that the government’s proposals indicated a lowering of protection for people that would leave individuals at risk of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and being refused asylum and deported despite facing mistreatment.

He said such a move could contravene Britain’s obligations under international law and set “a very bad example for the rest of the world”, potentially allowing other states to dilute their levels of protection for vulnerable people.

“The problem is that the line between cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and torture is very difficult to draw. If a country is going to mistreat you, then what is going to stop them torturing you? This would be a dangerous development, a disastrous reading because it would violate the object and purpose of the norm.

“It is not to give governments flexibility in deciding who stays; it is to protect people from torture and ill-treatment. You could call this a bad-faith interpretation,” he said.


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