Letter to Thorbjørn Jagland,
Secretary General, Council of Europe


Marija Pejčinović Burič
Secretary General, Council of Europe
Avenue de l’Europe, F-67075 Strasbourg                                                15 September 2019
Dear Secretary General,

We are writing to you because we are extremely concerned about the political situation that is developing in the UK.
Prior to the last election, the Conservative party refused to make a manifesto commitment to continuing to adhere to the European Convention on Human Rights beyond the lifetime of the current parliament.
The current UK government appears to honour the ECHR more in the breach than in its observance. Specifically, we are concerned about the following:
- the implied threat not to abide by the law obliging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to apply for an extension of Article 50 to avoid a no-deal Brexit
- the contested legality of the prorogation of parliament and the shutting down of democracy at a time of national crisis

- the institutional racism towards EU citizens in the voter registration rules for the EU elections which led to over 1 million EU citizens being denied a vote

In our view, these events amount to repeated violations of the spirit of the ECHR if not the letter of the convention.

We are also concerned, that the contempt currently being shown by the UK government for democracy, human rights and the rule of law, may prefigure a move to leave the ECHR and therefore the Council of Europe once the UK has left the European Union.

As Secretary General of the Council of Europe, we are confident that you will be observing developments closely. Privately, you will no doubt share our concerns.
We ask you now to go further and to acknowledge this publicly.

The issue of Brexit is a matter for the British.

However, the question of whether international standards with respect to democracy, the rule of law and human rights are upheld in the UK is a legitimate concern for all Europeans.

We look forward to your comments on the matter and to working with you and the Council of Europe to safeguard the rights of British citizens and all who live in the UK.

Yours sincerely,

ROGER CASALE                                                                     DOMINIK KIRCHDORFER
Founder and Secretary General,                                            President,
New Europeans                                                                    European Future Forum

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