UN & the UK
An investigation by The Independent has found that UK prisons are holding children in solitary confinement, allegedly breaching UN torture rules and British law.
Evaluation of UK’s international obligations
Amnesty International’s annual report on The State of the World’s Human Rights for 2016/2017 has stated that full accountability for torture allegations against UK intelligence agencies and armed forces remained unrealized, and hate crimes have risen significantly since the Brexit referendum.
The Dutch minister Lilianne Ploumen has called upon the UK to join the safe abortion fund which was started in the wake of Trump’s ‘global gag rule’ and which is aiming to raise $600m to provide funding for NGOs that provide abortion or information on the procedure to women in developing countries. However, a DfiD spokesperson has remained silent on the subject of such contribution, whilst stating that the UK is “a global leader on family planning, sexual and reproductive health and rights”.
UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU
EU politicians have told The Guardian that ‘divide and rule’ tactics employed by Britain is likely to result in no deal being reached in Brexit negotiations, and Jean-Claude Juncker has warned that there will be two years of tough negotiation and a ‘very hefty’ bill. Sir Ivan Rogers has also stated that the EU will seek to avoid a future trade deal with special terms for different sectors of the economy as wanted by Theresa May.
Prior to the House of Lords reading, in a letter to The Times organised by Mark Stephens, a media law partner at London law firm Howard Kennedy, over 90 senior lawyers and business leaders have called for the art 50 notification bill to be amended so that Parliament can “ensure that it can determine what should be done if negotiations break down”. (paywall)
As discussions of the art 50 bill open in the House of Lords, the leader of the opposition, Lady Smith, has stated that Labour will table amendments, but will not attempt to wreck the March timetable for invoking the article. Theresa May took the unusual step of sitting in on the Lords’ debate. The debate can be read in the House of Lords Hansard: day one and day two. Labour is increasingly optimistic it can force concessions from the Government over the status of EU nationals in post-Brexit Britain, after securing cross-party backing for an amendment to the article 50 bill.
In the House of Lords debate, Lord Kerr, author of Article 50, has ridiculed the Government’s claim that the treaty clause cannot be stopped after it has been triggered.
The Financial Times has published an article arguing that pro-Europeans now have to push for change after exiting the EU.
The EU’s Brexit negotiators intend to discuss the UK’s divorce from the bloc first, thus denying any trade-deal negotiations until after progress has been made on the €60bn exit bill and the rights of expatriate citizens.
Charles Grant has published a policy brief to the Centre for European Reform discussing Theresa May’s emerging deal on Brexit and the incumbent difficulties.
Some senior ministers reportedly want to divert aid from “wasteful” projects in Africa and Asia to allies in eastern Europe in a bid to get a better Brexit deal; however the Department for International Development has insisted this plan is illegal.