Lecturing Britain on human rights reeks of EU hypocrisy

Rishi Sunak responds to Daily Express Political Editor over role on ECHR in UK

Leaving the European Union was meant to put an end to the constant lectures from Brussels. Instead, the running commentary has gone into overdrive after Brexit.

The latest bugbear Eurocrats have with Brexit Britain is its flagship Rwanda scheme. They can see the great promise of the plan to deter illegal migration, which is why Germany and Austria have been working hard to copy it.

However, Rishi Sunak’s determination to do “whatever it takes” to get the Rwanda scheme back on track after the Supreme Court’s intervention has clearly set alarm bells ringing in Brussels.

We now hear from Bloomberg that the EU’s great and good urged the UK repeatedly in private not to backtrack in its commitment to international human rights agreements such as the European Convention of Human Rights and the UN Refugee Convention.

The Prime Minister does not need to take any lectures from Brussels given that many leading members of the bloc have shown little fear of incurring the ECHR’s wrath in order to deal with similar challenges.

Emmanuel Macron’s government has taken a notably tough line, indicating that France was ready to be fined for deporting foreign criminals and radical Islamists without waiting for the European Court of Human Rights to hear their appeals.

“Should we keep [them] with us when they can also cause death in our country?” Interior minister Gérald Darmanin explained to a French newspaper.

“We used to wait until we had the opinion [of the ECHR] even if that meant keeping extremely dangerous people on our soil. Now we don’t wait. We expel and we wait to see what the court is going to say. The consequence of that is indeed a fine.”

He wasn’t bluffing, as it is reported some people have already been booted out immediately for committing acts of anti-Semitism.

France is far from alone in its robust position. Germany’s interior minister Nancy Faeser recently declared that “we must” deport Hamas supporters.

African migrants storm border of Spanish enclave of Ceuta

Spain decided to tackle a migration crisis caused by people entering its territory by climbing a border fence from Morroco by sending them back. Their plans were condemned by the United Nations and required the ECHR to wade in.

However, Strasbourg surprised human rights activists by concluding that the Spanish had acted lawfully because those summarily deported had “in fact placed themselves in an unlawful situation when they had deliberately attempted to enter Spain”.

By contrast, the ECHR found Italy had breached various human rights laws in its treatment of four people who were detained and deported after coming over from Tunisia.

Meanwhile, Greece did not have to worry about the ECHR sticking its oar in after forcibly deporting a family of Syrian refugees to Turkey as the European Court of Justice threw out the case they brought against the EU’s border protection agency. That case may not have involved Strasbourg, but it illustrates how helpful EU judges can be in assessing the actions of member states.

If the EU wants to be taken seriously in its lectures on human rights, it should get its own house in order first. Its members face similar challenges to Britain, so it is little surprise they are keen to work around restrictions like Strasbourg’s rulings.

Perhaps Eurocrats are so animated about what Brexit Britain may do to tackle illegal migration because they fear it might succeed. Otherwise, their fears reek of hypocrisy.

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