Human Rights Is an Election Issue


Included in RCPB(ML)’s call for the May 7 General Election is that the electorate should vote for candidates who stand for the rights of all.

This is a very serious issue. Rights can not be given or taken away. They belong to the holder by virtue of their being. Does a government recognise these rights; does it provide them with a guarantee? The debate is not being framed in these words. Consequently it is of prime importance that the electorate evaluate candidates who stand for the affirmation and defence of the rights of all, as a component of the people’s struggle to combat the violation of the rights of all.

The defence of rights is at the centre of the struggles of the people, and the future and dignity of the working class and people depends on the defence of the rights of all.

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So far is the defence of rights off the agenda of the Coalition government that they have been speaking of repealing the Human Rights Act. Every struggle of the people to affirm their rights is treated with contempt, diversion and outright suppression. Anti-terrorism laws have been utilised to attempt to deprive individuals of basic human rights under the guise of a balance between the exercise of rights and the prevention of terrorism and extremism. The rights of immigrants and those seeking asylum have been likewise violated, and every attempt has been made to pose immigration as a problem in society.

Constant battles have been waged between Westminster and the judiciary, so that it is almost impossible to enumerate all the pieces of legislation on “counter-terrorism”, “the prevention of terrorism” and “security”. The latest of these pieces of legislation is the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, which received the Royal Assent in February. Under the guise of countering terrorism and extremism, it authorises retention of communications data by the security services, amongst other provisions. In other words, it legalises the violation of rights which has been ongoing by the state authorities.

These regressive moves by Westminster, it may be said, are in contrast to developments in Scotland, in which a National Action Plan for Human Rights is in place.

The youth, women, workers and other sections of the people are in motion to affirm and defend their rights, which include the right of the peoples of Scotland and Wales to their nation-building projects. The right to health care, education, food and shelter are being fought for in struggles which are only intensifying as the election approaches.

It is essential that this fight intensifies and the rights of all, and public right, are put front and centre of the election campaign. The people have their right to their way of life, their right to their culture, language, their right to participate in politics and decision-making, their right to be. A modern government must give the rights of the people a guarantee.

Vote for Candidates Who Oppose Austerity and Stand for the Rights of All!

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