Catherine Bearder MEP has written an article in the Oxford Mail defending the European Court of Human Rights. Please see the full text below.
We built the European Court of Human Rights 60 years ago, after millions of people died fighting the Nazis and defending our right to live free from tyranny. Our wartime leaders created it to ensure our fundamental human rights would be the foundation of a post-war Europe.
Today, the European Court of Human Rights is the people's defence against our rulers. Anyone who feels their human rights are being abused by the state can take a case to the court. It is independent from any government or political influence, and its only purpose is to uphold our human rights. It is not part of the EU and is not on a mission to promote European integration.
All countries that sign the human rights convention choose to accept the court's final judgement on cases brought to it. Yes sometimes people don't like what it says, but when Churchill and his colleagues created it they thought this was a small price to pay for guaranteeing our freedoms.
As a party to the human rights convention we're not losing our sovereignty, as scaremongers try to claim. To have no sovereignty is to have no choice over what we do. In reality the UK is free to leave the human rights convention (and thus the European Court of Human Rights) at any time it chooses. But since the days of William Wilberforce our country has been a proud defender of human rights, and what a sad thing it would be if we stopped now.