EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Article 8: Right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence
1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”
Article 9: Freedom of thought, belief and religion
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
2. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others
While there are restrictions to these rights – for example, to protect public order or the rights and freedoms of others – it is important to note that authority must show that any action they take is lawful, necessary and proportionate; in other words, no more than necessary to address the problem concerned.
Article 10: Freedom of expression
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
Article 10 represents a fundamental protection of the hard-won right to freedom of expression, which is one of the cornerstones of our civilisation. We exercise this right every day without thinking about it: it provides a legal basis for our ability to debate and to disagree and to speak our minds within the law without fear of prosecution or police harassment.
The law recognises that we have a duty to behave responsibly and to respect other people’s right and the authorities may restrict this right; for example, to prevent disorder and crime, to protect the rights and reputations of others (for example, to prevent defamation), and to prevent the disclosure of personal information.
Article 10 enables us all to comment upon and criticise people, groups, governments and ideas without fear of prosecution. This bedrock of modern, democratic society is under threat from the authorities, who are warning people to watch what they say or tweet even though they have not broken the law. Read some case studies here.
Article 11: Freedom of assembly and association
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
2. No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the state.
It is not just what the police are doing that is at issue: it is what they are not doing.
Aside from the individual cases that we have compiled on this site, Fair Cop is deeply concerned about the threat to freedom of assembly, especially the actions of activists opposed to gender critical feminists. In the last year, we have seen several alarming examples of activists who have physically prevented women from entering meetings, especially those convened by A Woman’s Place (WPUK) – a group led by feminists who are opposed to changes in the Gender Recognition Act.
What’s more WPUK has suffered bomb threats, targeted harassment of their venues demanding that they cancel meetings and even physical altercations. Police responses to these incidents have been woefully inadequate.
Fair Cop calls on the police to respect the law and to treat everyone equally, fairly - and in accordance to the law.