考研英语阅读材料及译文:Human rights and Europe

2015-7-10 16:44| 投稿者: ajianwei| 评论: 0

摘要:   考研英语阅读材料及译文:Human rights and Europe   “UNWORKABLE”, “contradictory” and “incoherent”. Those were among the epithets that have greeted the Conservative Party's plans to reform Br ...

  考研英语阅读材料及译文:Human rights and Europe

  “UNWORKABLE”, “contradictory” and “incoherent”. Those were among the epithets that have greeted the Conservative Party's plans to reform Britain's human-rights laws. The Tories have long wanted to scrap the Human Rights Act (HRA), passed in 1998 by a Labour government. On October 3rd Chris Grayling, the justice secretary, promised to do just that as the Tories gear up for a May election in which the Eurosceptic UK Independence Party (UKIP) threatens to lure away voters. In fact, the reforms will change less than supporters hope or critics fear.

  The HRA incorporated into British law the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which Britain signed (and helped to draft) more than half a century ago. The act allowed Britons to pursue human-rights violations in British courts, rather than going to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Although demonised by the Tories as European interventionism, the HRA actually made it more likely that human-rights cases would be heard in domestic courts, albeit in the light of internationally agreed principles.

  Several decisions by the European court have particularly upset the Conservatives. The court ruled that Britain's ban on any prisoners voting was unlawful; it laid down that whole-life sentences should be subject to review; and it insisted that Abu Qatada, accused of terrorist offences, should not be deported to Jordan without guarantees that neither he nor those giving evidence at his trial would be tortured. Eurosceptics and British tabloids have seized on these cases as evidence of European meddling in British affairs.

  The Tories say they will replace the HRA with a new Bill of Rights. They argue that Britain has a long history of its own human-rights laws (including Magna Carta) and that the European court is overreaching. The Conservatives want to limit the rights of individuals (notably foreigners) under the convention in certain circumstances. The European court's judgments would be merely advisory as far as British courts are concerned. If the Council of Europe, the guardian of the convention, refuses to accept these changes, Britain would withdraw from the convention.

  In fact the ECHR has less legal power than first appears. International treaties are difficult to enforce, and the court cannot force Britain to change its laws even now. Prisoners do not have the vote despite the court's objection to Britain's ban. The main problem is political; other members of the Council of Europe may not want to put up with Britain continually ignoring the court's rulings, as the Tories' proposals suggest they might.

  Nor has European human-rights legislation proved as restrictive as critics suggest. In 2012, of 2,146 foreign offenders ordered to be deported, just 256 successfully appealed on human-rights grounds. In the 16 years since the HRA came into force, domestic courts have made 28 “declarations of incompatibility”, holding that British laws conflict with the European convention. In 2013, of 1,652 British cases dealt with in Strasbourg, judges found violations in just eight.

  Without the HRA, the liberties enshrined in the European convention would still apply to Britons, who would then have to revert to going to Strasbourg about human-rights violations, as they did before its introduction. If the promised Bill of Rights were at odds with the convention, appeals would multiply.







  欧洲的人权立法也不如批评家们指明的限制性。2012年,在被命令驱逐的2146名外国罪犯中,仅有256名成功的以人权缘由上诉。自HRA生效施行的16年间,国内法院给出了28 次有关“无法兼容的通告”,认为英国法律与欧洲公约存在冲突。2013年,在斯特拉斯堡处理的1652起英国案件中,法官发现仅有8起出现违规。


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