Readers may well have been surprised to see adverts from Amnesty International on billboards and in newspapers over recent weeks which highlight the role the Human Rights Act played in the Hillsborough inquest.
If you were surprised, you’re not alone: a YouGov poll found that 70% of people in the UK were unaware that the Human Rights Act had any involvement in the historic Hillsborough inquest, which returned the conclusion of “unlawful killing” of the 96 football fans earlier this year.
Similarly, 74% of people were unaware that the Human Rights Act is part of the Good Friday peace agreement, which ended the troubles in Northern Ireland.
Given that the Human Rights Act has been the subject of a great deal of myth-pedalling and scapegoating over the years, it’s hardly surprising people don’t know much about its importance.
Yet, when Hillsborough relatives and victims of the Northern Ireland troubles are all calling for the Human Rights Act to be kept, we should pay attention and so should the Government.
It’s often something that people only need in their darkest hours, when other avenues of justice have failed them. We allow it to be scrapped at our peril.
Secretary, Wearside Amnesty International Group