UK May Leave European Convention On Human Rights to Stop Channel Migrant Boats


UK (Parliament Politic Magazine) – A senior UK cabinet minister has indicated that the government might consider withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as a potential measure to address the issue of migrants arriving in the UK via small boats crossing the Channel. Robert Jenrick, the Immigration Minister, has stated that the government is prepared to take any necessary actions, even if it entails withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The ECHR, a longstanding Pan-European treaty safeguarding human rights and political freedoms across the continent, could potentially be abandoned by the government. His comments represent a significant shift from the government’s previous stance, which suggested that leaving the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) was not an imminent decision.

UK Proposed Departure from European Convention on Human Rights

Prior to an election, the Conservatives may intensify their rhetoric against the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to establish a clear distinction from the Labour party. This strategic move aims to capture public attention and sway voters towards their political agenda.

The government’s proposal to transfer certain migrants to Rwanda for the purpose of processing their asylum claims is currently embroiled in a legal dispute before the Supreme Court. The inaugural flight, scheduled for June of last year, was abruptly halted at the last minute due to an appeal made to the European Court of Human Rights.

 This court, comprising 47 nations that have ratified the convention, is responsible for safeguarding the rights enshrined within it. It is important to note that this court operates independently from the European Union, which the United Kingdom opted to withdraw from in 2016.

In anticipation of this, there have been increasing demands from certain members of the Conservative party to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Suella Braverman, the home secretary and a prominent lawyer, has previously voiced her opinion in favor of the UK’s departure from the ECHR.

Jenrick Dismisses the Possibility of Withdrawing from Convention

During an interview on Times Radio, Jenrick refused to dismiss the possibility of withdrawing from the convention, emphasizing that the government is prepared to take “whatever measures are deemed necessary.” He said: “You can see from the prime minister, the home secretary and myself, our total commitment to this challenge’’.

“That’s why we’re working on every possible front. That’s why we have produced the most comprehensive plan, I believe, of any European country to tackle this issue. He further reveals: “And we’ll do whatever is necessary, ultimately, to defend our borders and to bring order to our asylum system.”

When directly asked if this could potentially involve withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), he responded, “We will do whatever is necessary and take the required actions.”

 Jenrick shared his evaluation while revealing that the government has successfully reached an agreement with Turkey to concentrate on synchronized efforts aimed at “disrupting and dismantling” criminal organizations involved in human trafficking. The government now possesses the authority to disregard specific interim injunctions from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) concerning border security.

Read More: 30th Anniversary of the European Union: Which Is the Real Europe?

The Establishment of Centre of Excellence

On Tuesday night, the government made a significant announcement regarding the establishment of an operational “Centre of Excellence” by the Turkish National Police, with support from the UK. This center aims to enhance collaboration between the National Crime Agency and Home Office intelligence personnel stationed in Turkey, as well as their Turkish counterparts.

The British government expressed its commitment to this initiative, emphasizing the importance of strengthening ties and cooperation in combating crime. Ministers are eager to demonstrate their ability to effectively address the issue of illegal migration to the UK, especially with an upcoming election expected next year.

However, the implementation of the Rwanda scheme, which involves relocating certain asylum seekers to the East African nation, has encountered significant delays and has yet to commence as planned. 

The inaugural flights were abruptly halted by a European judge’s last-minute intervention last year, despite receiving clearance from UK courts. Subsequently, the initiative has become entangled in a web of legal proceedings.

To the astonishment of the Home Office, the Court of Appeal in the UK delivered a verdict against the proposed plan just last month. Consequently, an appeal will be lodged in the Supreme Court during the autumn season.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.