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Rights groups urge May to improve UK human rights record

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Britain’s human rights organizations have urged new Prime Minister Theresa May to improve her and the country’s record on human rights.

Amnesty UK, Reprieve and some other charity groups called on Wednesday on the new premier to commit to a fresh start on certain human rights issues such as complicity in torture and the European Convention on Human Rights.

May, a former Home Secretary, has previously said Britain should withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights and adopt its own human rights law. She, however, said during the Tory leadership contest that she would pursue that policy as Prime Minister.

May has also reportedly masterminded a policy of sending vans around the UK to tell undocumented migrants to return home or “face arrest.”

Donald Campbell from Reprieve said as Home Secretary, May was “worryingly secretive on human rights issues.”

“For example, they have frequently refused to disclose information on funding and training for overseas police forces which could lead to people being tortured and executed,”he also said.

Campbell expressed hope that May changes her approach and“place greater emphasis on transparency and accountability, and ensure Britain no longer provides assistance which could end up supporting torture and the death penalty around the world.”

She should also set up an independent inquiry into Britain’s involvement in CIA’s torture program.

Amnesty UK director Kate Allen also asked May to change her previous approach and take measure to tackle the rising hate crimes in the country following the Brexit vote.

“There’s much to be concerned about in the country Theresa May is inheriting, and we very much need to turn the corner on human rights,”Allen said.

She also noted that the new Prime Minister should guarantee that EU migrants will not be used as bargaining chips in UK-EU negotiations.

“She (May) also needs to tackle the recent rise in hate crimes, racism and xenophobia and ensure refugees and migrants are no longer denigrated in political speeches,”Allen also said.

Allen added that May must ensure that “human rights are put back at the center of British foreign policy and the Human Rights Act is safeguarded here at home.”

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