“Never again” was the refrain during and after the Second World War. It was through the bloodshed and carnage of war that the idea for an agreement or convention on human rights was formed.

No government would be allowed to dehumanise and abuse people’s rights with impunity, and any that strayed would be held to account.

In May 1948 after the war had ended, the ‘Congress of Europe’ was held in The Hague. Over 750 delegates that included leaders from civil society groups, academia, business and religious groups, trade unions, and leading politicians from across Europe met and the assembly proposed a list of rights to be protected, and also drew a number of articles directly from the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In his speech to the Congress, Churchill stated:

“In the centre of our movement stands the idea of a Charter of Human Rights, guarded by freedom and sustained by law.”

The European Court of Human Rights, the international court based in Strasbourg came from this. It consists of a number of judges equal to the number of member States of the Council of Europe that have ratified the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The Court’s judges sit in their individual capacity and do not represent any State. Once they are appointed the judges are entirely independent of their country of origin and do not represent either applicants or States.

It should be stressed that the UK courts and the ECHR have not had time to deal with detailed challenges brought by asylum seekers facing removal to Rwanda. The detailed examination of their challenges are to be considered in the High Court in July. The only issue has been whether they should stay in the UK in the meantime. The UK courts accepted the Home Secretary’s assurances, however the ECHR has placed more weight on the United Nations’ evidence.

On Tuesday, 14th June 2022, the ECHR says:

“In the interests of the parties and the proper conduct of the proceedings before it, to indicate to the Government of the United Kingdom, under Rule 39, that the applicant should not be removed until the expiry of a period of three weeks following the delivery
of the final domestic decision in the ongoing judicial review proceedings. The parties are therefore required to notify the Court immediately of the delivery of that final domestic decision.”


Is the UK Government playing politics to generate headlines? Is the UK Government expecting the courts to strike down this populist policy so that it can feign anger and dismay? Does the Government really believe that this is an acceptable way to behave? If so, this is a disgrace.

If not, it is worse.

The United Kingdom was the very first nation to ratify the convention in March of 1951.

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