Although the bill was lost by 10 votes, this is the perfect opportunity for Human Rights organisations to step up and take a more active role in the Brexit process.
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.”
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