The rights (and wrongs) of human rights (and human wrongs)

7 November 2012 by

I have an opinion piece in this week’s Jewish Chronicle, We should support and not condemn Human Rights Act. The “we” in the title is the Jewish community, of which I am a part, although it also amounts to a fairly broad  defence of the Human Rights Act.

The article was at first intended as a direct response to an opinion piece by Jonathan Fisher QC entitled The wrongs of human rights, but because of editorial pressures at the Jewish Chronicle it could not be published until a few weeks later, and as such ended up being a more general article. I have already commented on this blog on why I thought the timing of Fisher’s article was a little odd given that the Bill of Rights Commission, on which he sits, was still consulting the public on the very issues he addressed passionately in the article. I said:

… if this Commission is going to achieve anything at all, its members must surely at least attempt to present an open mind towards the issues involved, particularly when they are going to great expense to ask the public what they think.

Anyway, enjoy the article if you choose to read it, and feel free to comment below as the JC website does not allow readers directly to comment on articles.

One more thing: will the somewhat unimaginative habit of entitling articles about human rights “the rights/wrongs of human rights/rights” ever end? It seems to be almost as endemic as our old friend Top Judge. Only time, as they say at the end of even more legal articles, will tell.

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  1. susan bevis says:

    It is good that you spoke up for the Human Rights Act but unfortunately there is so much abuse going on under the mental health right now and the law is failing to protect the most weak and vulnerable people in society.

  2. Rona Epstein says:

    How eloquently you have put it Adam. I agree with every word, and agree also with the views expressed here by Tim.
    Well done Adam on a beautiful succinct piece on the importance and the value of the Human Rights Act and the European Convention to every one of us.

  3. Tim says:

    Quickly skimming Fisher’s piece I saw this:

    “Since the Holocaust, human rights have focused on the notion of entitlement at the expense of individual and communal responsibility.”

    …and I knew straightaway that I was reading lazy recycled hooey. Entitled to what? Decent living standards? Freedom from pain and torture? Health-care? An education? Legal aid? A fair trial? Social security?

    Yes yes yes – people should demand to be entitled to those things and more – no shame to that.

    Fisher sets up a sham competition between two unrelated things in order to conjure up an excuse to diminish human rights.

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