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Majority in Wales oppose the UK pulling out of Human Rights Convention

06 Dec 2023 4 minute read

A ‘Nid yw Cymru ar Werth’ [Wales is not for Sale] banner at the Bangor March for Independence
Martin Shipton

A clear majority of people in Wales want the UK to remain part of the European Convention on Human Rights, according to a new poll.

Released in advance of International Human Rights Day on Sunday December 10, respondents to the survey from across Wales showed strong support for human rights protections, with the vast majority saying they thought it was important to be able to challenge government, that they felt the right to peacefully protest was valuable and that children should be educated about their rights.

The Amnesty poll, carried out by Savanta, shows that withdrawal from the European Convention would not be supported by 60% of Welsh adults, with only one in five (21%) saying that the UK should withdraw and 19% saying they didn’t know.

Challenge government

More than four out of five Welsh adults (86%) said they felt it was important to be able to challenge government if it violates people’s rights – a key protection that the European Convention helps underpin. An overwhelming majority of people from Wales (81%) felt that it was important to be able to peacefully protest about something they cared about, and 84% people in Wales thought it was important for children and young people to be taught about their rights in school and college.

The opinion poll also showed overwhelmingly that most people in Wales thought the next UK government should focus on other issues rather than any proposal to withdraw from the human rights treaty.

When asked to rank the top five issues that they wanted the next government to prioritise, respondents to the poll chose tackling the cost of living crisis as their top priority issue (66%), with resourcing the NHS properly a close second (60%). Fewer than one in ten (6%) put European Convention withdrawal as a top five priority.

Threats

Amnesty’s poll comes after a year of publicised threats from high profile politicians about the possibility of the UK leaving the Europe-wide human rights treaty, most recently following a legal defeat for the UK Government’s controversial Rwanda plan.

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is an international human rights treaty between the 47 states that are members of the Council of Europe – not to be confused with the European Union.

Governments signed up to the ECHR have made a legal commitment to abide by certain standards of behaviour and to protect the basic rights and freedoms of people. It is a treaty to protect the rule of law and promote democracy in European countries.

The idea for the creation of the ECHR was proposed in the early 1940s while the Second World War was still raging across Europe. It was developed to ensure that governments would never again be allowed to dehumanise and abuse people’s rights with impunity, and to help fulfil the promise of “‘never again”.

Listen

Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s chief executive, said: “The government should listen to the views of people in Wales who clearly want to keep their European Convention rights intact. The European Convention protects cherished freedoms like the right to be able to peacefully protest, the right to equal marriage and the right to a fair trial.

“As we’ve seen with campaigns like Hillsborough and the Stafford Hospital scandal, the European Convention allows ordinary people to challenge public bodies or the government when things go very badly wrong.

“The government of the day should not be able to pick and choose which rights apply, and who is entitled to them. Human rights have at their heart a principle of equality and they must apply to all people in order to be of value to any of us.

“Repeated threats from politicians to withdraw from the European Convention are undermining the UK’s reputation on the world stage. On top of everything else, withdrawal from the European Convention would also threaten the fragile peace in Northern Ireland which has the convention as a key element of the Good Friday Agreement. Constant talk of leaving the convention is damaging, dangerous and unpopular.”

* Between August 31 and 8 September 8, more than 3,600 adults across the UK were asked by polling firm Savanta what they wanted the next government to prioritise, about their main political concerns, as well as questions related to the importance of the European Convention on Human Rights. Data were weighted to be representative of the UK by age, sex, region, and social grade.


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Jeff
Jeff
2 months ago

If this government yanks us out the ECHR, a move ARTD likes, your rights are ruined and all bets off for a government that will not run riot and rip up more of our rights. They are already pushing the boundaries, listen to braverman, that was a scary speech and germany 1936.

Gareth
Gareth
2 months ago

The people of Cymru can think and want whatever, but it is the near 60 million people of England that will decide what we get, until we are an independent nation we get what we are given. The sooner the majority here come to accept this, the better the future for our children.

Rhddwen y Sais
2 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Wales voted for Brexit enthusiastically compared to England. So surprised at this.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
2 months ago
Reply to  Rhddwen y Sais

The leave vote was actually slightly larger in england (53% to 47%) than in Wales (52% to 48%).

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
2 months ago

And yet given some of the comments on here about women getting promoted and transgender people even existing, this surprises me somewhat.
I guess some Welsh people have a flexible definition of the word “rights”. Also the word “human”

Defynnog
Defynnog
2 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

Are you just a bot? Guess you must be, the amount of time you are able spend posting here, whereas most of us have to work for a living. Sorry that it upsets you that a majority in Wales support the ECHR and women’s rights. Women’s rights are human rights, and a free Wales would hopefully guarantee that, after all our years of struggle.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
2 months ago
Reply to  Defynnog

I’ve been on here a few times this week. Am I a “bot” because I challenge bigotry when I see it?
I fully support the European Court of Human Rights and women’s rights.
What I challenge is that given the levels of sometimes inhuman comments posted here, is whether the majority of Welsh people actually DO support the ECHR, or even know what it is for.
But thank you for the personal insult

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
2 months ago

Very pleasing to see such strong support from people in Wales for human rights and the rule of international law. What a contrast with the UK Conservative party, which at the moment is seemingly divided between those want to pick and choose which parts of international law they will abide by and those who want to join the likes of putin’s russia in violating international law and standing outside the ECHR. Indeed we learned last night that even the govt of rwanda – a govt with a alarming record of human rights abuses – warned Rishi Sunak’s UK govt they… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Leigh Richards
Bethan
Bethan
2 months ago

I don’t understand. Who wouldn’t want to remain in the ECHR? How vile a creature would you have to be to strip yourself of these rights just so… what? You can revel in the harm of… who?… Someone else?… Everyone else?
The article said most people want to remain. I know society is divided but that’s ridiculous. Your government says they’re planning on removing your basic human rights, you oppose it. No ifs, ands or buts. Surely?

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
2 months ago
Reply to  Bethan

Our govt (the Welsh govt in the Senedd) is very strongly in favour of defending our human rights Bethan – it’s the xenophobic right wing british govt at westminster that wants to strip away peoples human rights.

Jeff
Jeff
2 months ago
Reply to  Bethan

This has become a target for the far right in the Cons. Our Welsh Cons seem to be on board in part (the leader has previously agreed with Braverman on it). Boris sacked the sensible Cons and left us with the likes of 30p. There are many things happening in the US that should give a heads up to the direction this can go and it is no coincidence that the UK right in the Cons are being fed from the same stinking pool in the US. There is already a crossover and funding from anti abortion groups in the… Read more »

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
2 months ago
Reply to  Bethan

You would think.
All DECENT people would support the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights).
But we can do without the failing EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission) which is an unfit for purpose Tory hijacked circus who’s IS stripping away the rights of the vulnerable (such as migrants and LGBT people)

Jeff
Jeff
2 months ago

PM today is threatening the ECHR. This is what the tory party is now.
No ones rights are safe. Remind every single Tory you meet on the door step. BBC, ITV, pull your finger out and tackle this don’t roll over.

David Thomas
David Thomas
2 months ago

There has been a poll and the majority say xxxxxxx
I have been living in Wales for 50 Years, my wife and her family are Welsh born and breed, and NOT one of us has ever been involved or asked to take part in a poll. So where do these poll results of various bodies, Welsh assembly, human rights, come from????

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