Ebola Discrimination?

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The new United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein expressed alarm on Thursday over anti-African prejudices arising from the Ebola crisis, warning against what he described as ill-conceived quarantine enforcements and discriminatory travel restrictions.

The high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein expressed concern about their budget as well.

“I have to say I am shocked, shocked that just six weeks into the job I am already having to look at making cuts because of our current financial situation,” he said in his first news conference since formally taking over the job on Sept. 1st.

At a time when the United States and Europe are growing increasingly alarmed about the spread of Ebola from West Africa and seeking ways to minimize it, Mr. Zeid protested against restrictive actions, including criminal penalties, that he said could have the opposite effect.

“Only a response that is built on respect for human rights will be successful in quashing the epidemic,” he said.

“We must also beware of ‘us’ and ‘them,’ a mentality that locks people into rigid identity groups and reduces all Africans — or all West Africans, or some smaller, national or local group — to a stereotype.”

As the global response to the crisis accelerates, he said, “it is also vital that every person struck down with Ebola be treated with dignity, not stigmatized or cast out.”

Tories Want To Be Exempt From European Human Rights Rulings

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Dominic Grieve

In the UK, the conservative Tory party has plans to stop British laws from being overruled by human rights judgements from the European Union.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said if the Tories won the 2015 election, a new Bill of Rights would give UK courts and Parliament the “final say”.  There should be no “legal blank cheque to take human rights into areas where they have never applied”, he added.

Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve said the plans were flawed.  The Tory MP said they would be “difficult to implement” and risked “undermining” the UK’s – and his own party’s – tradition of upholding human rights.

Left-wing British parties such as Labour and the Lib Dems have said the proposals are politically motivated while the UK Independence Party claimed they were “worthless”.

In his speech to the Conservative conference on Wednesday, David Cameron said if his party formed the next government, it would replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.

The Conservatives have pledged for a decade to scrap the 1998 Human Rights Act, introduced under the Labour government, which incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into British law.