Sex offenders will be able to apply, under the Human Rights Act, to get off the sex offenders register.
This has caused the usual amount of huffing and puffing from those who don’t understand the whole point of human rights. The basic story:
A Supreme Court ruling has forced the Government reluctantly to draw up new rules allowing serious sex offenders put on the register for life to have their place on the list reconsidered.
The Home Office plans were opposed by child protection campaigners and Conservative MPs, who said some offenders could never be considered completely “safe”. The new rules were drawn up because the Supreme Court ruled that automatic lifetime inclusion on the register breached the Human Rights Act.
What the Supreme Court is really saying here is that one law passed by MPs conflicts with another law passed by MPs. And in a country that is under the rule of law this cannot be allowed to happen. The law must be possible to follow after all: we can’t have it that you both must do something and cannot do something at the same time. Similarly, we cannot have it that we’ve a system of protecting people from politicians (which is what human rights are all about) and at the same time allow politicians to breach those rights for people they don’t like very much.
As usual, at least one MP decides to grandstand instead of grasping the point:
Priti Patel, a Tory MP, said the court ruling added to the case for reform of the Human Rights Act.
“Sex offenders are vile criminals,” she said. “Why are these people allowed to use human rights laws to protect themselves? What about their victims?”
Because human rights are for everyone, not just those you think are not vile criminals. They accrue by virtue of being human, thus the name. It really is a very basic point and slightly worrying that those who would make the law in our name don’t get it.
This Human Rights Act, Ms. Pratel, is to protect us from you. That’s why everyone gets those rights, not just the people you approve of.
This was originally published in Forbes.