EU/ECHR confusion: So it continues…

Today’s Daily Express carries a comment piece headlined:

Despite this prominent mention of the EU, the piece begins:

THE European Convention on Human Rights is often an enemy of the rights of law-abiding citizens and the duty of governments to protect them. The judgment that paedophiles have a right to apply to be removed from the sex offenders’ register is another hideous example.

I’ve blogged before about how the papers don’t seem to know the difference between the European Court of Human Rights and the European Union.

Like the European Court of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights is a part of the Council of Europe, which is entirely separate from the European Union.

As the European Commission’s London office said in a note sent to newsdesks last year:

…[D]ecisions of the European Court of Human Rights should not be referred to as EU decisions, and the judgements should not be attributed to “EU judges”, or any similar language. The European Court of Human Rights is part of the Council of Europe, a completely separate organisation to the European Union. The UK is a founding member of the Council of Europe, which was created in 1949 by the Treaty of London.

The same applies to the European Convention on Human Rights. If the Express were talking about the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, then the Express’ EU connection would be justified. In this case, however, it is not.

Continuing in their ignorance, the Express close by saying:

This newspaper is crusading to withdraw Britain from the EU, removing a huge financial burden and a weight of regulations. Equally important is to remove ourselves from the often insane jurisdiction of a European convention that is at odds to many fundamental principles of British justice. When maximum protection from paedophiles is outrageously undermined in the name of spurious rights there is something fundamentally wrong.

As Antonia Mochan, Head of Media at the European Commission’s London office, has said:

Membership of the Council of Europe is now a precondition of EU membership, but the UK was a member of the CoE long before it joined the Common Market/ECC/EU and if it left the EU, I very very much doubt it would leave the CoE, and certainly wouldn’t do so automatically.

I ask again: Is this confusion between the EU and the CoE a deliberate ploy to discredit the EU over things it has no control, or simply a display of sheer ignorance?

1 Comment

Filed under Media and journalism

One Response to EU/ECHR confusion: So it continues…

  1. the_voice_of_reason

    And there I was under the mistaken belief that the decision in this case was a unanimous one by the United Kingdom Supreme Court, which simply allowed persons convicted of a sexual offence a right of review, similar to that granted by Parliament to life sentence prisoners and persons disqualified from driving for life. As in practice a decision to remove someone's duty to comply with the reporting requirements of the 2003 Act will only rarely be made (after all, only 20% of life prisoner tribunals result in release), and often when the offender is physically enfeebled, this seems to be an utter non-story.

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