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Joint Committee on Human Rights
Report and Government response published.
Read the full report (PDF 358KB)
Read the report
Read the summary
Read the conclusions and recommendations
The Committee says that there must be a new and better approach to international agreements so that the UK maintains its status as a champion of human rights.
The report proposes:
The Government commits to ensuring that all Explanatory Memoranda accompanying treaties laid before Parliament under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 (CRaG) contain a separate section which sets out the compatibility of the treaty’s provisions with the UK’s international human rights obligations (see Committee recommendations 3 and 14).
International Agreements contain increasingly important provisions in a modern, globalised world and can have significant impacts on a huge variety of areas.
Deals done in such agreements can impact on the human rights of those living in the UK and also the human rights of those living overseas. This could involve justice or home affairs treaties, such as mutual legal cooperation or extradition treaties, or trade deals allowing businesses special access to markets or the export of goods that could be used in human rights violations.
All of these agreements have the potential to impact human rights, such as the rights of workers, the right to be free from servitude and forced labour, and the right to privacy of data as it passes across borders. The JCHR is embarking on a short inquiry into whether parliament should set up a specific mechanism to scrutinise international agreements for compliance with human rights post-Brexit and what processes should be followed to ensure adequate scrutiny of compliance with human rights standards in international agreements.
Evidence given by Dr Lorand Bartels, Reader in International Law and Fellow, Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge, Sam Fowles, Barrister, Cornerstone Barristers, and James Harrison, Associate Professor, University of Warwick; Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and UN, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Richard Jones, Deputy Director, Human Rights and Democracy Department, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (at 4.15pm).
Joint Committee publishes Government Response to their report