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Amnesty warns against government's ‘unprecedented programme of rights reversal’

THE Tory government is waging an “unprecedented programme of rights reversal” through its bid to crack down on protest and refugees, Amnesty International UK warned today. 

The human rights organisation said the government’s Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill, and the Nationality and Borders Bill, which are both making their way through Parliament, risk rolling back hard-won protections. 

The group also voiced concerns over pledges to overhaul the Human Rights Act announced by deputy prime minister Dominic Raab at the Tory Party conference last week. 

Combined, the Tory’s raft of legislation constitutes an “unprecedented programme of rights reversal with hard-won protections being dismantled and rolled back on multiple fronts,” Amnesty warned. 

The group’s CEO Sacha Deshmukh said: “Ordinary people have fought hard and often bitter battles to achieve these rights — and we mustn’t let them be struck out by politicians who think they are merely getting in their way.

“The right to peaceful protest, the right to challenge injustice at the hands of the state, and our hospitality to those needing a place of sanctuary on these shores — these are some of our most treasured values.”

Amnesty issued the stark warning ahead of a week-long campaign to prevent the “raid on raids,” with campaigners asking MPs to oppose the moves in Parliament. 

It comes as the human rights group released a new opinion poll showing 56 per cent of respondents felt concerned at the proposed changes to the Human Rights Act. 

“Our polling shows that the public doesn’t want these rights removed,” Ms Deshmukh added. “Ministers should pause, reflect and halt this raid on rights.”

The Borders Bill, dubbed by rights groups as the “anti-refugee Bill,” seeks to criminalise claiming asylum in Britain and permanently restrict the rights of refugees who arrive via irregular routes. 

Amnesty warns that the policing Bill, which seeks to give police more powers to crack down on protest, could “potentially entrench racism in policing.” 

On changes to the Human Rights Act, the group highlighted the importance of the legislation in historic campaigns for justice, including the Hillsborough disaster. 

At the Tory Party conference last week, Mr Raab said changes were needed to prevent “abuses” of the legislation, citing a case where a domestic abuser claimed the right to family life to avoid deportation. 

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