Thursday, 1 September 2011

Gibraltarians do not enjoy the same basic human rights as their UK counterparts

If you are a non-Gibraltarian who visits the Rock you will be struck by the thriving, modern society that exists all around you. You would chat with a sophisticated people. You would assume, wrongly, that Gibraltarians enjoy the same basic human rights as their British counterparts, or indeed Spaniards across the border, but you would be wrong.

In many instances Gibraltarians are in a rights limbo. If they were in the UK those rights would be protected by law and they would have redress under a whole series of headings against government, officials and so on. That is not true on the Rock because if a Gibraltarian has a complaint it is addressed, quite rightly to the Gibraltar Government, and not that of Britain. However all too often their own government legally turns a deaf ear because few rights are enshrined in law.

If a Gibraltarian seeks justice he or she can’t go to the UK government either because it does not have jurisdiction here. Therefore the only route is to Europe where, in theory, their case has the right to be heard. Yet even that is fraught with problems because in Brussels the conclusion would more often than not be that as British Citizens the British Government should be held to account to sort it out, which of course, it can’t.

It was put to me recently that the chief minister, Peter Caruana, was far from pleased when Gibraltarians received the Euro vote and hence a voice in the European Parliament. I had never thought about it before because it seemed strange to me that the elected leader of the Gibraltarian people would not want them to enjoy the widest representation. On the other hand it meant they had a right to go directly to Brussels or the European Parliament on issues that the chief minister might consider only he should have control over. For some democratic leaders democracy is a bitter pill to swallow.

Marcus Killick, the chairman of the Financial Services Commission, recently called for an Ombudsman to represent customers in their relations with the financial sector. For non-Gibraltarians it is startling to learn that those who live on the Rock do not enjoy such a vital service that is considered the norm elsewhere in the EU – yet so far there is no indication the government will give a positive answer to Killick’s plea.

Indeed as the general election draws near the rights of Gibraltarians to have free access to these basic rights and open government will reach a crescendo. The problem for the GSD is the party has been in government for four terms and has paid scant regard to the fundamental rights of its people. Hence a cynic might say if Caruana suddenly takes on the guise of St Paul on the road to Damascus on these key issues his conversation will be on a par with the Syrian president’s claim to have discovered democracy – not worth the scroll it is written on.

David Eade


  1. The article is totaly correct. Many things in Gibraltar is totaly wrong. The 50/50 housing that is limited to only Gibraltarians or residents in Gibraltar after a number of years is against the freedom of movment and as such is an infringment of EU law. Nobody wants to understand it and it will have to take someone to complain to the EU to get it right. A few years ago when I visited the unemployement office any job offers were only available to people resident in Gibraltar another infringment to EU law as the job market is for anyone living anywere in the EU and should not be limited to a territory or memberstate on the expense of the other memberstates. Further when it comes to Immigration officers at the frontier they ask non EU citizen from countries for a visa waiver even if the individuals can show a resident card valid in Gibraltar and the local law stipulates that is sufficient for entry to the Rock. This is only a small no of things not right on the Rock and the list could be made long.

  2. David, you are totally correct in what you say. Sadly, although we are living in a "Democracy" there is very little access to Justice for us on the Rock,whether as individuals or business.

  3. Gibraltar should be very careful about seeking Europe's idea of 'human rights'. The United Kingdom made the terrible mistake of embodying the European Convention on Human Rights in its own law. This permits uneducated, inexperienced, unqualified European "judges" to interfere in British judicial process, legislation and Parliamentary decisions. As well as the wishes of the British people. Hardly the sort of situation the people of Gibraltar would wish for.

    It has led to a number of really wise landmark decisions. Such as the current apparent inability to deport the well-known Egyptian-born hate preacher Abu Hamza because of his "human rights". The inability to deport the killer of a 12-year old girl using a vehicle he was not lawfully entitled to drive, besides having convictions for numerous other offences, because of his "human rights". There is an ongoing case where a woman brought her parents to the UK using a passport issued in a British dependency. Now, around 15 years later, she wants to bring her 57-year old husband to the UK from India. She claims that a recent immigration requirement that an immigrant must be able to speak basic English is a breach of their "human rights". She hasn't been bothered about getting her husband, a life-long Indian hill farmer, to the UK before. Some might, uncharitably, think that the time has come when he will need welfare benefits and the NHS.

    Think it through, people of Gibraltar. The whole population of Spain could arrive in Gibraltar, demand housing, benefits, accommodation and you wouldn't be able to remove them because of their "human rights". In the UK the Human Rights Act is frequently referred to as "the Criminal Rights Act". Many British people want to see the Human Rights Act repealed as it often promotes the "rights" of the transgressor in preference to the rights of the victim or the majority of the British people.

    How would you like matters of "human rights" in Gibraltar resolved by a Spanish judge? And whose rights do you think would be at the front of his mind?

  4. Comment to 1 September 2011 08:47, I do not share your view as Gibraltar is already bound by its obligation through the European Union Law. The EU law recognise the ECHR and as such Gibraltar is already bound by it and anything were Gibraltar will ignore the ECHR will by the end of the day be imposed on Gibraltar from the EU. To make the ECHR a local law will only make it more clear for the public and lawyer not having a clear study on EU Law v. ECHR to understand the the ECHR can be used in Gibraltar. That there then have be some cases that people can find strange such as the Abu Hamza case can be found in any legal system including the present one of Gibraltar. No place is perfect but a place withhout the ECHR is less perfect.

  5. Gibraltar for locals outsiders are left like shit especially in the Passport office, if no local address they cant even apply for a UK passport issued in Gibraltar!

  6. Regarding the comment of "Anonymous" on 2 September. The people of Gibraltar should be aware that the European Convention on Human Rights is NOT EU law. The Convention stems from the Council of Europe NOT the EU.

    Please note that, until 1998, the European Court of Human Rights could offer no more than advisory opinions. Since the 1998 Labour treachery, it has become a court of appeal to supersede British laws.

    This is where it has gone wrong. If the people of Gibraltar embody the ECHR (Convention) in their own law they will subordinate their entire judicial process to the deliberations (joke) of the incompetents of the ECHR (Court).

    Another example. Some years ago, a convicted callous murderer, John Hirst, presented a case to the Court that convicted criminals should be able to vote despite being still in prison. The Court ruled that convicts should be able to vote. In February 2011 the House of Commons voted that convicts should NOT get the right to vote. The vote was close. 234 to 22. The vote was greatly based on the views of the British electorate who inundated their MPs with their views. Despite this the ECHR (Court) continues to insist that the UK complies with its ruling. So this undemocratic, unelected, incompetent, unqualified, foreign Court thinks it has the right to overturn the expressed views, not only of the UK Parliament, but also of the British people.

    Britain will shortly take over Chairmanship of the Council of Europe. High on its list of priorities is reform of the ECHR (Court). Intended reforms would considerably reduce the number of cases that the Court could consider. And would remove any authority the Court has given itself to overturn the decisions of national courts.

    As I have already suggested, would you want the decisions of YOUR courts overturned by a bunch of clods in Strasbourg?

    If you want to go that way, feel free.But you should be aware that there is a large and growing body of opinion in the UK that the Human Rights Act 1998 needs to be repealed and the ECHR (Court) reverted to an advisory body.

    John Hirst is to be congratulated. If there was anything that would galvanise the people of the UK, it was his case. In addition he continues to try to gloat about the ruling. Every time he does that he ensures that more British people oppose the ECHR ruling. Not only in his case, but others as well.

    Let's understand this. The British judicial and legal system led the world. Napoleon came up with a totalitarian and dictatorial alternative. The majority of ECHR incompetent "judges" come from countries that try to operate the 'Code Napoleon'. This should tell you something.

    Here's another consideration. A majority of the British people want the UK to leave the EU. Our Prime Minister has recently said that he sees no case for a referendum on membership of the EU. As a result he has come under major attack as a large number of MPs and the majority of the people don't agree. When the UK leaves the EU, what will YOU do? Will you still want British protection? Will you try to make it alone? Will you become a Spanish possession? YOUR choice.