Equality and Human Rights experts give evidence to Committee
26 March 2019
The EU Justice Sub-Committee continues its inquiry into rights after Brexit by hearing from human rights commissions and experts (including from Scotland and Northern Ireland)
As with the previous session, this session is designed to focus on two principal issues. The future framework for rights after Brexit and the potential weakening of rights protections due to Brexit (including the loss of the Charter of Fundamental Rights).
Tuesday 26 March in Committee Room 3, Palace of Westminster
- Clare Collier, Director (Legal) at the Equality and Human Rights Commission
- Colin Caughey, Director of Legal, Research, Investigations and Advice to Government at the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
- Dr Katie Boyle, Associate Professor in International Human Rights Law at the University of Stirling. She is a Member of the Scottish First Minister's Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership and is speaking on behalf of that Group.
- Are you concerned that there is a threat to human rights and the rule of law given the Government's confirmation to us that it may still consider reforming the human rights framework by repealing or replacing the Human Rights Act 1998, once the process of EU exit has been completed?
- The summary draft of the Political Declaration, published on 14 November 2018, indicated that the UK's future relationship with the EU would be underpinned by a "reaffirmation of the UK's commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights", but the final document, published on 22 November, diluted this formulation so that the UK would agree to "respect the framework of the ECHR". How concerned are you about this drafting change?
- Do you believe rights protections in the UK will be weakened due to the removal of the Charter? If so, in what particular spheres will the impact be most obvious?
- The First Minister's Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership in Scotland has proposed an Act of the Scottish Parliament to provide human rights leadership. To what extent could any such act ensure non-regression from the rights currently guaranteed by membership of the European Union? How would such an Act relate to the UK's human rights framework?
- Concerns have been expressed about the status of individuals in Northern Ireland who identify as Irish Nationals and how their rights will be protected under the Withdrawal Agreement. The UK Government has begun to negotiate agreements with the Irish Government to formalise some of the arrangements relating to the Common Travel Area. Will this be sufficient to resolve these issues?