Reform rabbis and other leaders of the Jewish community have signed René Cassin’s letter to David Davis MP, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. The letter urges him to use the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU as an opportunity to protect and strengthen the provision of human rights and to ensure that the human rights protections provided by membership in the European Union continue to be protected as part of the proposed EU withdrawal Bill.
“Recognising the role of the UK in developing a European human rights framework in response to the horrors of the Holocaust, we urge the Government to once again put this country at the forefront of the charge for human rights, and to use our withdrawal from the European Union as an opportunity to protect and strengthen the provision of human rights“.
The letter reads:
Dear Rt. Hon David Davis MP,
Last week it was announced that the EU Withdrawal Bill will be brought before the House of Commons on 12th June, during which time MPs will consider and vote on the 15 amendments that have passed through the House of Lords.
We are writing to urge you to ensure that the human rights protections provided by our membership in the European Union continue to be protected as part of the proposed EU Withdrawal Bill.
Human rights are innate to Jewish values and the Jewish experience. As leaders and members of the Jewish community, we are concerned that the loss of EU human rights safeguards would have worrying ramifications for vulnerable communities throughout the United Kingdom. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights also holds an important role in protecting the right to manifest religion and belief.
Recognising the role of the UK in developing a European human rights framework in response to the horrors of the Holocaust, we urge the Government to once again put this country at the forefront of the promotion of human rights, and to use our withdrawal from the European Union as an opportunity to protect and strengthen the provision of human rights.
We therefore support:
Retention of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in force, which enshrines vital political, social and economic rights, including a guarantee on human dignity.
Rights of reunification of unaccompanied child refugees.
Enhanced protection for certain areas of EU law, including employment rights and equality protections
Continuing relationship with the EU to ensure that the United Kingdom will not be prevented from replicating EU law, or from continuing to participate in EU agencies after exit day (membership of EUROPOL and EUROJUST is instrumental in helping the UK prosecute human traffickers and protect victims of human trafficking).
Enshrined support for the Good Friday Agreement.
Powers handed to ministers to change ‘retained EU law’ can only be used when necessary.
As we leave the European Union, let us not leave our human rights behind. We hope that you share our commitment to equality and human rights.
Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild
Rabbi Lea Mühlstein, Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue
Rabbi Roberta Harris-Eckstein
Senior Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Reform Judaism
Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director, Jewish Council for Racial Equality
Rabbi Charley Baginsky, Liberal Judaism
Rabbi Charles Wallach
Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris, Principal, Leo Baeck College
Senior Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Masorti Movement
Marie van der Zyl, President, Board of Deputies of British Jews
Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen, Manchester Reform Synagogue
Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE
Rabbi Janet Darley
Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, Chair, Conference of Liberal Rabbis and Cantors, Senior Rabbi NPLS
Rabbi Sandra Kviat, Liberal Judaism
Rabbi Roni Tabick
Rabbi Mark Goldsmith
Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers
Rabbi Amanda Golby
Cantor Zoe Jacobs
Rabbi Oliver Spike Joseph, Masorti Judaism
Rabbi Dr René Pfertzel, Kingston Liberal Synagogue
Rabbi Daniela Thau
Dr Laurie Bender
Rabbi Janet Burden
Rabbi Francis Ronald Berry
Rabbi Naomi Goldman, Kol Chai Hatch End Reform Jewish Community
Rabbi Colin Eimer
Rabbi Monique Mayer, Bristol & West Progressive Jewish Congregation