U.K. Backsliding on Civil and Political Protections, U.N. Rights Body Says

An influential United Nations human rights body delivered a scathing assessment Thursday on the protection of civil rights in Britain, accusing the Conservative government of backsliding and urging the country to abandon its controversial legislation to allow asylum seekers to be sent to Rwanda.

The criticisms from the U.N. Human Rights Committee came as it presented its conclusions from two days of meetings in Geneva this month with a delegation of 24 British officials to review the country’s compliance with an international treaty for the protection of civil and political rights.

“We are witnessing a really regressive trend and trajectory” in Britain, Hélène Tigroudja, a committee member, said at a news conference in Geneva. She said that the trend was occurring “in many, many sectors when dealing with civil and political rights, and I hope our message will be heard by the U.K.”

The 18-person U.N. committee addressed wide-ranging concerns over the two days. Britain is one of more than 170 countries that ratified the treaty — the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights — and member states go through periods of review. The committee’s conclusions are generally taken seriously, but it does not have the power to impose sanctions.

The committee called on Britain to “swiftly repeal” provisions of a law passed last year to try to curb illegal migration and a fiercely contested bill in Parliament that would send asylum seekers to the East African country of Rwanda.

Noting that Britain’s Supreme Court had ruled that the bill violated international law, the committee said it deprived asylum seekers of their most basic rights.

Back to top button