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Does The Human Rights Act 1998 Promote Or Hinder Democracy?

2584 words - 11 pages

The European Convention is not the only international human rights agreement to which the United Kingdom and other like-minded countries are part. However, over the years with the rise of democracy, it has become one of the premier agreements in defining standards of rights across Europe. It was also for many years unique because of the system, which it put in place for people from signatory countries to take complaints to Strasbourg and for those complaints are to be judicially determined. The rights and freedoms which are guaranteed under the Convention are ones with which the people of this country are plainly comfortable. They therefore afford an excellent basis for the Human Rights ...view middle of the document...

However, democracy and human rights are not just uniquely British concepts. They are truly universal values whose powerful message has transformed the planet.1Over the last two hundred years, and especially since the Second World War, democracy has become a political ideal that has sort to enshrine inherent goodness. This has been strongly reinforced with the end of the Cold War, seen by the world as a 'victory' for the cause of Democracy over Communism. To this extent, it would seem that democracy is a political end, a form of government to which all nations should strive. It has also been seen, in many cases, as justifiable to even enforce this political system on nations who for some reason or another are in need of a restoration of political and social stability.Traditionally speaking, the UK has always tried to remain democratic in ruling. The term democracy is said to be derived from the Greek words demos meaning "the people" and Kratia meaning "rule". The first democratic forms of government were developed in the Greek city-states during the 6th century the word democracy implies that final sovereignty must lie with the people as a whole. This could be said to disagree with concepts such as autocracy, where power lies with an individual and a small group of people. Moreover, it may be fair to argue that democracy could also be defined as a system where the people have a certain degree of political power, any situation in which decisions, in one form or another, are put in the hands of the people, through voting. The method through which this is generally achieved is through elections, whereby the people elect representatives to sit in parliament.It could be argued that we live in a world of democracy or so it may seem, state socialism which appeared so entrenched just a few years ago has crumbled in Central Europe. Democracy and with it Human Rights appear not only to be securely established in the West but are also widely adopted, in principle, by a rapidly growing number of democratic societies. Democracy, it may be fair to argue, has become the fundamental standard of political legitimacy in the current era, and the means of achieving protection for the individuals' Civil rights and liberties. 3Traditionally, parliament provides a means of allowing the will of the people to influence government towards the maintenance of human rights through free election and secret ballots aided in operation by the free pressA right is something to which the individual is entitled and that will be ensured over and above the civil laws and rules of the land. The existence of these rights it could be said is a way that individuals have a degree of sovereignty over the state, where civil laws are the tools of the state's sovereignty over individuals. This balance should create a situation, which is morally justifiable. Furthermore, the terms rights and liberties could be said to stand for the widest application possible of the principle of democracy....

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