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Human Rights Act needs protecting in the name of the Holocaust, says charity

    René Cassin supporters outside the High Court in 2011
    René Cassin supporters outside the High Court in 2011

    A human rights charity has said the Human Rights Act is a legacy of the Holocaust and needs protecting.

    René Cassin said it wanted to stress the link between the Holocaust and the development of safeguards to protect human rights as part of Human Rights Day on 10 December.

    Government plans to replace the Human Rights Act were announced in the autumn of this year.

    The charity said it was “concerned over the government plans to scrap” the Act and attempts to “curtail the role of the European Court of Human Rights,” which currently ensure countries comply with the Act.

    Mia Hasenson-Gross, director of René Cassin, said: “Human rights laws developed as the civilised world’s response to the horrors of the Holocaust – a global voice saying ‘never again!’

    “But now the government wants to put the clock back by repealing the Human Rights Act. We are concerned that it is ignoring the lessons of history.”

    Ms Hasenson-Gross said: “The Human Rights Act protects victims of crime, the wrongly accused, the disabled, the mistreated, and the elderly.

    “Here in the UK, it has allowed countless people to pursue justice; it is an instrument that should be cherished, not diminished.”

    She added: “Internationally, the government’s proposals will have damaging effects: the UK is seen as the gold standard for human rights – by back-tracking on rights here, it will encourage less enlightened regimes throughout the world to do the same.”

    The comments were made on the anniversary of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948.

    A Ministry of Justice consultation on repeal of the Human Rights Act has been delayed until early 2016.

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