Whenever the United Kingdom abandoned the European Union last Friday evening, it indicated the largest change in Europe’s political geography since 2004 when 10 former Eastern Bloc nations concurrently joined the EU.
Brexit has impacted the UK and the EU in several distinct ways. It’s reminded people on each side of the station of Europe’s shared values and goals. It’s been a catalyst for awful xenophobia and racism in parts of the UK, also occasionally severely strained the nation’s democratic institutions. Along with also the UK’s departure found the bloc of a winner of EU enlargement, a procedure which will help promote human rights and the rule of law (however imperfectly), and of a voice against authoritarianism.
A vital threat of Brexit is the fact that it might split and weaken the EU and the UK in a time when Europe needs to be a positive force in the entire world on human rights, climate change and much else besides.
Following Brexit, the UK will have to forge trade relationships with nations around the world rather than collectively through the EU. The stress is that in doing this, that the UK will no longer insist upon respect for individual rights and rule of law, and consequently undermine its capacity to promote these values in its foreign policy.
There are several encouraging signs: the UK has claimed human rights exemptions when minding previous EU trade agreements with a few countries.
Nevertheless, the actual test will be if the UK goes trade discussions with strong countries with large markets, and in the way the UK reacts when its commerce partners breach human rights clauses in their agreements. The EU and the UK will have to make sure there are binding human rights clauses in their very own new trade arrangement.
The UK must remain dedicated to international institutions that encourage human rights, in continuing partnership with EU authorities.
While it’s pushed for liability in Syria, it neglected to perform much in its direct character on Myanmar to stop atrocities from the Rohingya.
The UK also has to restore its support to the Council of Europe, the area’s primary human rights system, and that the UK helped to launch, and its own European Convention and Court on Human Rights. The Convention protects people’s rights over Europe, while the Court provides an opportunity for justice for victims of human rights abuses – like in the UK – if their governments neglect them.
The united kingdom government has said it will continue to support human rights for all individuals internationally, such as a commitment to girls’ schooling, service for media freedom and human rights defenders, and attempts to stop sexual abuse in conflict.
However, talk without actions — or suitable financing — is moot. Assessing journalists and activists only functions when the UK is ready to openly speak out when people face persecution or jail due to their job. As an instance, if the UK isn’t keen to denounce Saudi Arabia’s jailing of women’s activists or openly press for justice to its state-sanctioned murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, its responsibilities will ring hollow.
That usually means redoubling its commitment to human rights in the home.
Considering that Boris Johnson’s government took power from mid-2019, it’s shown a dangerously cavalier attitude towards democratic associations; unlawfully suspending parliament and threatening to dismiss court rulings and also to violate the law, as an example.
No wonder there are grave concerns regarding the government’s aims to start looking into altering the Human Rights Act – the legislation which protects people’s individual rights at the UK – and intends to provide British courts power to review decisions made by the authorities. Both modifications could leave individuals who have nowhere to turn if the government trampled on their faith.
There are additional risks connected to Brexit, also, including the fact that EU taxpayers in Britain may face problems demonstrating they are residents and consequently face difficulties renting a house or obtaining work. Additionally, there are fears that the authorities could water down environmental protections now connected to EU legislation — placing air quality and the countryside in danger – and weaken workers’ rights which protect pregnant women and part-time employees. It has refused up to now to create any legally binding commitment to keep the present level of security of the rights.
If the UK wants to make a triumph of Brexit, then it ought to create human rights worth a basis of its involvement with the world – and continue to shield them in the home too.