Sat Sep 19, 2020 5:28
Top Human Rights Lawyer Quits UK Envoy Role over 'Lamentable' Brexit Bill
TEHRAN (FNA)- Amal Clooney, the high-profile human rights lawyer, resigned from her position as the UK’s special envoy on media freedom in protest at the government’s intention to breach international law through the internal market bill.

In a stinging denunciation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s threat to override Britain’s international treaty obligations in the EU withdrawal agreement, the barrister described the government’s actions as “lamentable”, The Guardian reported.

Her resignation letter, sent to the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, on Friday says, “I have been dismayed to learn that the government intends to pass legislation – the internal market bill – which, if enacted, would, by the government’s own admission, ‘break international law’.

“I was also concerned to note the position taken by the government that although it is an ‘established principle of international law that a state is obliged to discharge its treaty obligations in good faith’, the UK’s ‘parliament is sovereign as a matter of domestic law and can pass legislation which is in breach of the UK’s treaty obligations,’" she said.

“Although the government has suggested that the intended violation of international law is ‘specific and limited’, it is lamentable for the UK to be speaking of its intention to violate an international treaty signed by the prime minister less than a year ago.”

Her resignation comes after Lord Keen, the UK government’s law officer for Scotland, quit on Wednesday because of his opposition to the bill. A week earlier, the government’s chief lawyer, Jonathan Jones, stepped down as ministers prepared to publish the legislation.

Clooney said she had held back from standing down since the details of the internal market bill were revealed last week, but having “received no assurance that any change of position is imminent, I have no alternative but to resign from my position”.

She added, “I am disappointed to have to do so because I have always been proud of the UK’s reputation as a champion of the international legal order, and of the culture of fair play for which it is known. However, very sadly, it has now become untenable for me, as special envoy, to urge other states to respect and enforce international obligations while the UK declares that it does not intend to do so itself.”

Johnson’s decision to renege on significant parts of the withdrawal agreement will be analysed by the 27 EU leaders at a summit in Brussels next week, with officials warning that the member states are “neither intimidated nor impressed” by Downing Street’s ploy.

The EU’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, will update the heads of state and government on all the latest developments but sources in Brussels said there would be no debate or strategising by the EU.

“There is not a lot to to discuss,” said one source.

Labour’s Chris Matheson, the shadow media minister, said, “It is humiliating that the UK’s special envoy on media freedom has felt unable to continue in her role. This shows that by threatening to break international law instead of getting Brexit done as we were promised, the government is trashing the UK’s reputation around the world.”

Clooney’s letter, released through the International Bar Association in London, was supported by the independent High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom.

David Neuberger, the chair of that panel and former president of the UK supreme court, said, “I agree with what Ms Clooney says in her letter of September 18 to the foreign secretary."

“I support her principled response to the shameful attitude of the UK government to its international treaty obligations in the internal market bill and in ministerial announcements that it is prepared to break international law,” he said.

Lord Neuberger said Clooney’s role as an envoy was distinct from her position as deputy chair of the panel, which she would continue to hold.

He said, “Journalists who are persecuted, imprisoned and even murdered for their work deserve all the help that they can get, including through legal reforms by governments that follow the panel’s advice. It is in the interest of freedom of expression and the rule of law that they get such help.”

Helena Kennedy QC, the director of the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute, which is secretariat to the panel, said, “I fully endorse the statements made in Ms Clooney’s letter of resignation and respect her decision to stand down as envoy while maintaining her role on the panel. Members of the panel are appointed on an unpaid basis as a result of their relevant expertise and the panel should complete its current mandate.”





Bottom top
South China Sea Drills Won’t Help Trump Win Re-election

TEHRAN (FNA)- China says the United States is flexing its military muscles in the South China Sea by conducting joint exercises with two aircraft carrier groups in the strategic waterway.
Iran ِDiscovers Deposit with 8 Tons of Gold Reserves

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran made a gold discovery in Sistan-Balouchestan province in the Southeastern part of the country where definite reserves of 8 tons of the precious metal have been found, provincial officials said.
Iran’s Mersad, Tabas Missile Systems Target Hypothetical Enemy Drones in Drills

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian Air Defense Force and Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force’s Mersad and Tabas missile systems attacked hypothetical enemy targets in joint drills on Wednesday.
Another Karabakh War Rocket Hits House at Iran’s Bordering Village

TEHRAN (FNA)- A rocket fired during clashes between the warring sides, Armenia and Azerbaijan, landed in a village house in the Northeastern bordering province of East Azarbaijan in Iran.
Karabakh Conflict: Diplomatic Efforts Underway as 2nd Truce Falls Apart

TEHRAN (FNA)- The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan arrived in Russia to discuss their countries’ dispute over the South Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh, days before heading to Washington for separate meetings with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as heavy fighting over the region is in its fourth week.
US Embassy Found Guilty of Deadly Attack against Residential Areas in Baghdad

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior commander of Hashd al-Shaabi (popular forces) said that the US embassy in Baghdad was behind the September attack against a house in the Iraqi capital which killed 5 civilians.
Rescue Officials: At Least Five Dead, 20 Wounded in Karachi Building Blast

TEHRAN (FNA)- At least five people have been killed and more than 20 wounded after an explosion in a residential building in the Southern Pakistani city of Karachi, rescue officials said.
Over 5,600 More People in Iran Infected with Coronavirus

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian health ministry announced on Wednesday that 5,616 new cases of coronavirus infection have been identified across the country during the past 24 hours, adding that 312 patients have passed away during the same period.
UK Labour Accuses Johnson of 'Bargaining with People’s Lives' over Lockdown Support

TEHRAN (FNA)- Labour leader Keir Starmer accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of “dividing communities” and pitting regions against each other in his approach to local lockdowns, arguing that areas put in the top level of coronavirus restrictions were likely to be stuck there for months.
Iranian FM Asks Arab Neighbors to Choose between Instability, Peace

TEHRAN (FNA)- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on Iran’s neighbors in the Persian Gulf to cooperate in the establishment of peace and security in the region.
Report: Most Arrests During Protests in US Are Suburban Adults Not Extremists

TEHRAN (FNA)- Most people who were arrested during nationwide protests of racial injustice and police brutality were young suburban adults as opposed to the left-wing extremists groups that President Donald Trump and his allies have repeatedly targeted, an analysis from the Associated Press found.
FM Zarif: Iran Urging All States to Choose Peace, Security, Stability

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a Twitter message urged all the world countries to choose peace, security, and stability instead of remaining prisoners of the past.
NYPD to Increase Police Presence Days Before Presidential Election

TEHRAN (FNA)- The New York Police Department (NYPD) plans to increase police presence in the city in the eight days ahead of the 2020 election, officials announced on Tuesday.
IRGC, Army Destroy Aggressive Targets by Powerful Indigenous Air Defense Shields during Joint Drills

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) forces exercised destruction of hypothetical enemy targets in high and mid altitudes by the powerful home-made Third of Khordad and Khordad 15 air defense systems during the joint aerial wargames on Wednesday.
Breonna Taylor Grand Juror Claims Panel Was Not Given A Chance to Consider Homicide Charges Against US Cops

TEHRAN (FNA)- A grand juror in the Breonna Taylor case came forward to claim that the panel was not given an opportunity to consider homicide charges against the Louisville police officers involved in the 26-year-old EMT's death.