20 November 2017

Today 31 groups have submitted evidence to the Joint Committee of Human Rights outlining their shared concerns about the protection of human rights in the European Union (Withdrawal Bill). Groups include Human Rights Watch, Liberty, National Union of Students, Women’s Aid (England), Disability Wales and Children in Scotland.

Coordinated by BIHR, the evidence submission states that the Withdrawal Bill, as it stands, will mean a loss of rights and accountability for people in the UK, notably: 

  • People’s fundamental human rights and equality protections: despite the government’s stated intention for the Withdrawal Bill to maintain the status quo, a number of rights have either been explicitly excluded or it is not clear how minimum standards of protection will be ensured; and
  • Parliamentary scrutiny: the Bill’s provisions for amending transposed EU law vest significant power in ministers rather than parliament, with its associated processes for scrutiny and consideration of the views of civil society.

 It concludes that:

“Ultimately, exiting the EU should not lead to less protection of people’s rights; the standards of protection should be equivalent to the current position, and where possible the opportunity to provide additional (not different) rights protections should be taken.”

Download a copy of the evidence submission here.

The evidence was submitted ahead of the next House of Commons Committee stage discussion on the Withdrawal Bill on Tues 21 November, which will include amendments about the Charter of Fundamental Rights. You can follow the debate, and the concern of civil society groups using #BringOurRightsHome.