At a book launch organised by Britain in Europe and the ‘Knowing our Rights’ project for Conor Gearty’s latest book, On Fantasy Island: Britain, Europe and Human Rights, the eminent human rights scholar and Matrix Chambers barrister delivered a passionate defence of the Human Rights Act and the UK’s European orientation, while blasting the government for Brexit and its attacks on the ECHR.
‘Brexit was underpinned by deplorable opportunistic populism’, and was bringing about ‘a move to explicit discrimination in the UK’, he said characteristically. ‘The ECHR was attacked as a proxy for the EU’, he criticised with equal rigour.
In ‘On Fantasy Island‘ Conor Gearty dissects the myths and fantasies that drive English exceptionalism over Europe, and shape the case for repealing the Human Rights Act. He presents a passionate case for keeping the existing legal framework for protecting human rights and our relationship with the European Convention. Analysing the reform agenda from the perspective of British law, history, politics, and culture, he lays bare the misunderstandings of the human rights system that have driven the debate so far.
The event took place at Brunel Law School’s moot court, in front of a mixed audience of students and academics. Prof Javaid Rehman introduced the renowned LSE scholar and human rights activist.