Activists from across Europe have joined forces to launch a campaign aimed at calling the UK to order for potential breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights.
To read and co-sign the letter to Marija Pejčinović Burič, Secretary General, Council of Europe, click here
In a letter to Marija Pejčinović Burič, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, to mark the International Day of Democracy (15 September), Roger Casale (New Europeans) and Dominik Kirchdorfer (European Future Forum) said:
“Brexit is a matter for the British. However, the question of whether international standards with respect to democracy, the rule of law and human rights are upheld in the UK is a legitimate concern for all Europeans.”
The campaigners drew attention to what they allege are “repeated violations of the spirit and potentially the letter of the ECHR,” including:
- the implied threat not to abide by the law obliging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to apply for an extension of Article 50 to avoid a no-deal Brexit
- the contested legality of the prorogation of parliament and the shutting down of democracy at a time of national crisis
- the institutional racism towards EU citizens in the voter registration rules for the EU elections which led to over 1 million EU citizens being denied a vote
As well as calling on the Secretary General to publicly acknowledge these concerns, the activists have called on civil society groups across Europe to show solidarity with the ‘fight for democracy in the UK."
Iris Hilker, a volunteer with Pulse of Europe in Aachen and co-organiser of the initiative said:
“We call on the citizens of Europe, to show solidarity and to stand up for the rights and freedoms of our friends and neighbours in Britain.
Take to the streets, take to social media, make a sign, light a candle, reach out to friends.
Raffaella Bolini, a co-signatory of the letter and civil society leader in Italy, said:
“I am really worried, seeing the civil rights issues at stake in the UK and the implications for Europe.
We must defend democracy, the rule of law, human rights in the UK - because we are Europeans.”
EU member states are similarly asked to speak out to defend democracy and the rule of law in the UK.
The campaign draws inspiration from the stance taken by the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow MP. In a speech in London, Mr Bercow said:
“Surely, in 2019, in a parliamentary democracy, we parliamentarians, legislators, cannot in all conscience be conducting a debate as to whether adherence to the law is or is not required.”
Commenting on the speech, Roger Casale, a former MP and contemporary of Mr Bercow’s said;
“Unfortunately a debate about whether or not to obey the law is exactly what is going on, not just amongst parliamentarians but in the corridors of Downing St. That has to be stopped, not just for the sake of Britain but also in the name of Europe.”
Here is the letter again to Marija Pejčinović Burič, Secretary General, Council of Europe
To read and sign the letter, click here