The Human Rights Act
Human Rights are those rights that are deemed to belong to all individuals by virtue of their humanity 1. Previously, these rights were referred to as “the rights of man” or natural rights. Because of this, human rights are ascribed to all humanity regardless of their citizenship or nationality. The human rights doctrine can, in this respect, come into direct conflict with other doctrines of the sovereignty of other governments in the world, and the law, because of the universality that has led to the pursuit of the agenda of human rights at stages of international co-operation in the era of post war2. The Human Rights Act has elicited a lot of divided opinion. Debate has risen in Britain as whether to repeal the Human Rights Act, (hereinafter referred to as the HRA), extend it or whether it should be replaced altogether with the British Human Rights (Hereinafter referred to BHR)3. Repealing the HRA refers to abolishing or evoking the act altogether while extending it will imply that, this Act could stay on longer without being repealed or cancelled by the British Government. In Britain, some fundamental individual freedoms are today protected by the Human Rights Act of 1998 which requires all the Britain law to obey the European Convention of 1950 on Human Rights (hereinafter ‘The ECHR’) and which also makes it possible for the convention to be enforceable in all the British Courts and makes it mandatory for the Judiciary to interpret the local law so that it complies with the convention4. The act came into existence over ten years and it seeks to protect the individual rights of people and has had a lasting impact in many fields of their private and public lives. The HR integrated the ECHR into the British law and therefore made it unlawful for any Public body or officer to act or behave in way which is incompatible with the convention5. The 1998 HRA made the ECHR to be part and parcel of the British National Law. Before that, the courts were only allowed to take the ECHR in very limited circumstances during domestic proceedings6. However, section 19 of the Act made it mandatory for any future legislation to contain compatibility with the ECHR. The Human Rights Act was in 1998 hailed to be a landmark statute but has elicited a lot of controversy and misconception. The HRA of 1998 has brought some certain elements into the legal system of Britain about the Human Rights of the European convention. In this Act, the British Courts are required to uphold and apply the ECHR in each and every decision that they make. This convention was developed to safeguard against the rejuvenation of Nazism and the protection of the rights it sought to protect after the Second World War7. The Articles which are contained in the Human Rights Convention proclaim among others the right to life which is contained in Article 2, prohibition of torture of human beings which is contained in Article 3, the prohibition of forced labor and slavery which is contained in Article 4, the right to security and liberty which is contained in Article 5, the right to a fair and just trial which is contained in article six, the prohibiting of extra legal punishment which is contained in article seven, the right to respect of the private family life of individuals which is contained in Article eight and the freedom of conscience, thought and religion which is contained in article nine. The convention also spells out the liberty of self expression that is found in Article 10 and the freedom of association and assembly that is clearly depicted in article eleven. The right to marriage and the prohibition of discrimination are contained in articles twelve and fourteen respectively 8. The legal modern approach of human rights that binds the governments to this Act arose from the United Nations Declaration on Human rights in 1948 which internationally developed a secular agreement on the rights of the human kind to provide...
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