Suella Braverman calls for ditching universal human rights and refugee conventions
The UK Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, delivered a controversial speech at the Conservative party conference in Manchester on Tuesday, in which she warned of an imminent “hurricane” of migration and suggested that the UK should abandon the Refugee Convention of 1951 and the European Convention of Human Rights. She also attacked the opponents of Brexit as unpatriotic and elitist, and dismissed the supporters of human rights as a privileged “ruling class” who never pay the price for their own “luxury” opinions.
Braverman’s speech has been widely condemned by human rights defenders, who accused her of fear-mongering, hate-mongering, and lying. They argued that her speech echoed the language of the global extreme right and betrayed the values of postwar Britain, which played a key role in drafting and adopting the international human rights instruments that she now wants to discard.
Braverman’s speech contradicts her own family history and background
Braverman herself is the daughter of immigrants who came to the UK from Kenya and Mauritius. She often cites her parents as examples of successful integration and contribution to British society. However, her speech implies that the current refugees and migrants are somehow different from, and less acceptable than, the previous ones, including her own parents.
This is a false and hypocritical claim, as every wave of migration in history has faced similar accusations of cultural otherness, possible criminality, or intention to exploit British “generosity”. The Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany in the 1930s, for instance, were often denied entry or treated with hostility by the British authorities and public opinion. The Refugee Convention was created precisely to prevent such tragedies from happening again, and to ensure that governments could never again refuse refuge to those in need on spurious and bigoted grounds.
Braverman’s speech ignores the complexity and diversity of the UK itself
Braverman’s speech also shows a complete disregard for the views and interests of the nations and regions that make up the UK. She talks about cultural integration and British values as if they were uniform and monolithic, while ignoring the rich diversity of cultures, languages, and identities that exist within the UK. She also dismisses the 16 million people who voted against Brexit across the UK as embarrassed by patriotism and only interested in unrestricted travel to their second homes in France.
This is a divisive and insulting attitude that can only alienate and anger many people in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and other parts of England who do not share Braverman’s vision of Britain. It also undermines the democratic process and the legitimacy of the UK government, which is supposed to represent all its citizens, not just those who voted for it. Braverman’s speech can therefore only hasten the break up of Britain, as more people may seek independence or autonomy from a state that does not respect or protect their rights.
Braverman’s speech threatens the safety and dignity of millions of people
Braverman’s speech is not only offensive and dishonest, but also dangerous. By rejecting universal human rights and refugee conventions, she is opening the door for more violations and abuses against vulnerable people who seek protection or a better life in the UK. She is also encouraging xenophobia, racism, and intolerance among some segments of society who may feel emboldened by her rhetoric to harass or attack minorities or dissenters.
Braverman’s speech is also irresponsible and shortsighted. By ignoring the root causes of migration, such as war, poverty, climate change, or persecution, she is failing to address the real challenges that face humanity in the 21st century. By isolating the UK from its international obligations and partners, she is weakening its influence and reputation in the world. By undermining the rule of law and democracy at home, she is eroding the foundations of British society.
What will happen next?
Braverman’s speech has provoked a strong reaction from many people who oppose her views and policies. Some have called for her resignation or dismissal, while others have vowed to resist her plans through legal or political means. However, Braverman has not shown any sign of regret or apology for her speech. On the contrary, she has received support from some of her colleagues in the government and the party, as well as from some media outlets and commentators who share her ideology.
The question now is whether Braverman will be able to implement her agenda or not. Will she face any opposition or accountability from Parliament, the courts, civil society, or public opinion? Will she be able to persuade or coerce other countries to follow her lead or accept her demands? Will she be able to cope with the consequences of her actions or face any backlash or retaliation?
The answer to these questions will determine not only Braverman’s fate, but also the future of the UK and its people.