EHRC briefing on Overseas Operations Bill
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has shared a briefing for second reading of the Overseas Operations Bill, which is taking place tomorrow.
Whilst it is intended to protect service personnel and veterans from vexatious claims, we are concerned that the Bill runs the risk of having a number of negative consequences, including:
- Harming the UK’s reputation as a global leader on human rights, and weakening our compliance with universal standards
- Reducing protections from harm and access to redress for victims of crimes and members of the armed forces serving abroad
- Increasing the risk of claims against the UK in the international courts
Our briefing therefore recommends that the Bill should be changed in three priority areas to help safeguard human rights:
- Withdrawing legislative proposals for a statutory presumption against the prosecution of current or former military personnel;
- Withdrawing legislative proposals that limit courts’ discretion to determine whether to extend existing time limits for civil and human rights claims;
- Removing Clause 12, which imposes a duty on the Secretary of State to consider whether to make a derogation under Article 15(1) of the ECHR in relation to any ‘significant’ overseas operations.
You can read the briefing here.