Creating a fairer Britain
09 February 2011
Speaking about the Government’s compliance with the European Court of Human Rights ruling on prisoner voting, John Wadham, Group Director Legal, at the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:
"The European Court of Human Rights has been protecting British human rights and civil liberties for more than half a century. Those rights include the democracy we value and hold up to other nations as an exemplar. Failing to abide by the Court’s ruling on one principle of democracy - universal suffrage - undermines the rule of law at home and abroad.
"Not every prisoner has to be permitted to vote, on that the Court is clear. But the British Government cannot continue to infringe the rights of a minority of its citizens just because opinion polls are against it. Sometimes the right thing to do is not the most popular course of action."
For more press information contact the Commission’s media office on 020 3117 0255, out of hours 07767 272 818.
For general enquiries please contact the Commission’s national helpline: England 0845 604 6610, Scotland 0845 604 5510 or Wales 0845 604 8810.
The Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission. It is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain. It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights. The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, and encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act. It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals.