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Cameron cautions that ECHR is sowing the ‘Seeds of Its Own Demise’

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron has cautioned the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that every time it goes beyond its boundaries, it is setting itself up for failure.

Lord Cameron emphasized to the House of Lords that the government does not have any intentions to withdraw from the ECHR or exit the Council of Europe. However, he expressed moments of great frustration.

While not explicitly mentioning Rwanda, Lord Cameron’s remarks may be alluding to the ECHR’s recent interference that halted the first flights to Rwanda in June 2022.

For instance, a Boeing 767 scheduled to transport seven undocumented immigrants to Kigali was grounded at the last minute due to the ECHR’s “interim measure” regarding a 53-year-old Iraqi man known as K.N. This measure prohibited Britain from deporting him to Rwanda.

The High Court in London had already ruled that K.N. could return to Britain from Rwanda, but the ECHR argued that he faced “a real risk of irreversible harm.”

As a result of the ECHR’s intervention, the Rwanda policy was escalated to the Supreme Court, which concluded that it was unlawful to deport individuals to Rwanda since it was not deemed a “safe” destination. This compelled Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to progress with legislation in Parliament.

In another recent ruling seen by some as overstepping, the ECHR determined that governments must consider the impact of climate change on people’s health.

Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho expressed her reservations about the ECHR’s ruling concerning Switzerland’s government violating its citizens’ human rights by not taking sufficient measures to protect them from climate risks.

Lord Cameron reassured the House of Lords that there is no inconsistency between the government’s policies and the country’s membership in the Council of Europe. He highlighted the importance of proper context when it comes to the ECHR’s actions.

Lord Cameron emphasized the hazards of courts overreaching, particularly in cases like the recent climate change judgment against Switzerland. He stated that solving issues like climate change requires political resolve, legislation, and actions taken by elected officials.

Former Chancellor Ken Clarke raised concerns about rejecting the ECHR’s jurisdiction, to which Lord Cameron stated that the government sees no inconsistency with its policies and membership in the Council of Europe.

Conservative MP Suella Braverman, former UK home secretary, gives a speech at the National Conservatism Conference in Brussels on April 16, 2024. (Omar Havana/Getty Images)

In a speech at the National Conservatism Conference in Brussels, former Home Secretary Suella Braverman advocated for Britain to exit the ECHR, citing its incompatibility with parliamentary democracy and its undemocratic nature.

Lord Cameron also disagreed with former Prime Minister Liz Truss’s suggestion to scrap the United Nations, emphasizing that the organization, despite its challenges, still serves an important purpose.

PA Media contributed to this report.

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