It turns out that a lot of people don’t realise this… the ECHR is not a court of the EU. It is the highest court of the Council of Europe, formed with the UK as a founding member in the Treaty of London 1949. To cut a long story short, it was what our forefathers fought for.
Our forefathers saw the horror of what happens when any group of people is considered to be subhuman, and decided that basic human rights should apply to all humans, regardless of their misdeeds and/or crimes. Clearly they knew full well that we wouldn’t always like it, but that’s kind of the point of Human Rights…. and so we have those who complain that the ECHR and their pesky human rights prevented us from deporting Abu Hamza – but actually, they didn’t. What the ECHR DID do was to hold us to our legal obligations under law that WE created – they placed a TEMPORARY injunction upon his deportation until they were satisfied that he was not going to be tortured or imprisoned without ANY possibility for release no matter how reformed he could ever possibly become in the future. Once they were satisfied, the injunction was lifted and he was indeed deported.
We have the issue of life imprisonment, for example, with the killer of April Jones. The ECHR wouldn’t let us give the killer a full life tariff without the possibility of release – so we explained that under extraordinary circumstances the Home Secretary could release such a prisoner, and the ECHR was OK with that.
Again – that’s the thing with having a basic standard for human rights applicable to every human regardless of crime or misdeed – it applies simply by virtue of their being human, and can prove to be a little awkward at times… but it’s a hell of a lot better than allowing ANYbody to be treated as sub-human no matter how distasteful we find them – because that’s the same kind of thinking that allows societies to end up moving from finding a scapegoat to gassing jewish people or the disabled. Our forefathers, who fought the second world war and who were so disturbed by what they saw and learned, knew this.
So, before you vote to leave the EU on the basis of “those pesky do-gooding human rights”, please consider where those human rights come from, why they exist, why they were created… by us… and the fact that they have absolutely naff all to do with leaving the EU. We are still subject to the ECHR – the law of which WE created for a better and more civilised world – whether we leave the EU or stay in it.