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Chief Constable backs Human Rights Act

By Michael McHugh

Published 08/09/2016

Chief Constable George Hamilton
Chief Constable George Hamilton

The Chief Constable has said Europe-wide human rights protections should be cherished.

George Hamilton insisted he could not understand how anybody could argue with key parts of the European Convention on Human Rights, such as protection from inhumane or degrading treatment and torture.

Some members of the Conservative Party and others support replacing the Human Rights Act, which enshrined the convention in UK law, with a new British Bill of Rights.

But Mr Hamilton said: "It seems to me a pretty good idea for any democratic society to uphold for its citizens a right to a fair trial, prohibition from any inhumane and degrading treatment, prohibition from torture and to uphold the right of freedom of expression.

"Freedom of religion is not a bad thing to have either.

"All of these rights and freedoms... I struggle to understand how people can argue with them in a progressive, liberal, democratic society."

The convention has legal force in the UK through the 1998 Human Rights Act.

Entitlements guaranteed under the accord were included in the Good Friday Agreement.

The Chief Constable spoke out in favour of the act while attending a meeting about human rights in Belfast.

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