Last week the extent and brutality of CIA kidnap and torture was revealed. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report, having been heavily redacted, contains no details of the UK’s involvement in CIA practises. America now knows the truth, whereas we on the other side of the ‘special relationship’ remain in the dark.
Liberty first called for an independent inquiry into the UK’s involvement in 2005. We are still waiting almost a decade later.
A fair, effective and accessible justice system is essential to protect human rights. In England and Wales, responsibility for the justice system sits with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). That department has been failing to live up to its great name for some time, and over the past week those troubles have been laid bare for all to see. But our other great democratic institutions have provided the light at the end of the tunnel, protecting those rights and freedoms that we celebrate today as part of International Human Rights Day.
We would like to congratulate Simon Tonkin, who has won our competition to become our ‘80th Writer’. Simon’s piece, Calais Plage, now stands alongside 79 other works from leading figures in literature inspired by the concept of ‘Liberty’, to mark our 80th anniversary.
Last night MPs debated the latest depressing chapter in our country’s ill-fated “war on terror”. The Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill is full of the kind of unsafe, unfair policies which the Coalition appeared to reject when it reduced pre-charge detention, curtailed powers to stop and search without suspicion and tempered aspects of the draconian control order regime.
But, in a devastating about-turn, this Bill proposes a package of ill-targeted, exceptional measures including:
Liberty has honoured groundbreaking campaigners, lawyers, artists and young people for their commitment to protecting and promoting the rights of others at our annual Human Rights Awards.
The awards – hosted by writer and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig at London’s Southbank Centre – saw Dominic Grieve QC MP receive the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his unwavering defence of legal principles during his time as Attorney General, and his continuing dedication to human rights.
Last night’s short debate on the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill in the House of Commons was an immense disappointment. Despite the fact that parliamentarians have been discussing proposed changes to Judicial Review for over ten months, the Lord Chancellor once again demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of the way it works. He repeated insulting and long discredited accusations that organisations bringing challenges use individuals as “human shields”. He complained that Judicial Review deals with “minor technicalities”.
The nominees for the Liberty Human Rights Awards, announced today, include fearless young campaigners, lawyers, organisations and artists who have been at the forefront of the fight for our freedoms and rights in 2014.