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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 September 2006, 23:32 GMT 00:32 UK
Falconer defends human rights law
Lord Falconer
Human rights are for everyone, Lord Falconer will say
The government is "unashamed" of the Human Rights Act despite criticisms from the media and politicians, the Lord Chancellor is expected to say.

Launching a campaign in defence of human rights laws, Lord Falconer will say such rights are for "everyone" not just "oppressed minorities".

The Department of Constitutional Affairs is planning two new guides to interpreting the Human Rights Act.

It follows cases in which the Act has been "misunderstood", a spokesman said.

Those who attack human rights, whether they are our opponents in politics, or our opponents in the media, attack our values, and attack us all
Lord Falconer

Addressing an audience of human rights lawyers at the London School of Economics later, Lord Falconer will promise a "passionate" and "defiant" campaign for human rights, which he will say express "our values" of democracy, tolerance, individual freedom and the rule of law.

He will say: "Human rights are the means for us all to live our lives, freely: free from prejudice, free from fear and free from terror.

"When human rights are attacked, then we are all attacked. Those who attack human rights, whether they are our opponents in politics, or our opponents in the media, attack our values, and attack us all."

Friday evening's address will be the first in a series of speeches by Lord Falconer about the government's human rights programme.

The Department for Constitutional Affairs said the emphasis would be on balancing the rights of individuals against the rights of society.

Public safety

The campaign follows controversy over cases such as that of convicted rapist Anthony Rice, who was freed from prison because of concerns about his human rights and went on to murder mother-of-one Naomi Bryant.

The case prompted claims from critics that the Human Rights Act was putting the rights of criminals first.

In July, Lord Falconer said that case was an example of officials misinterpreting the Act. And a government review said new guidance should make public safety a priority in such cases.

Over the next few weeks the department will publish the third edition of its guide to the Human Rights Act, as well as the two new guides.

The first of these will be aimed at public sector managers in fields such as health, education, prisons and probation and the second at policy-makers in Whitehall.

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