Amal Clooney steps down as UK envoy for Brexit bill

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Amal Clooney resigned from her post as UK media freedom envoy on Friday.

London, United Kingdom:

Prominent human rights lawyer Amal Clooney resigned her post as Britain’s media freedom envoy on Friday to protest the government’s “dismal” decision to violate its EU divorce treaty.

Clooney has become the third lawyer to step down from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government, after introducing a law that would rewrite his post-Brexit obligations to the European Union on Northern Ireland.

Undermining the rule of law “threatens to encourage autocratic regimes that violate international law with devastating consequences around the world,” she wrote in a letter to Foreign Minister Dominic Raab and seen by the AFP.

“Although the government has suggested that the violation of international law will be ‘specific and limited’, it is unfortunate that the UK is talking about its intention to violate an international treaty signed by the Prime Minister less than a year ago . “

When appointed to the British post in April 2019, Clooney said she welcomed the opportunity to build on her legal defense of persecuted journalists by working with the government to defend a free press around the world.

“I have accepted this role because I believe in the importance of the cause and appreciate the important role the UK has played and can continue to play in promoting the international legal order,” he said. she writes.

“However, very sadly, it has now become untenable for me, as Special Envoy, to urge other states to respect and apply international obligations while the UK says it has no ‘intention to do it himself. “

“Territorial integrity”

While admitting that the UK’s Home Market Bill violates the EU Withdrawal Agreement, the government maintains that there is a need to protect the country’s territorial integrity in the event the EU seeks to unjustly obstruct trade with Northern Ireland.

The argument failed to convince two other lawyers who recently resigned from government posts, including its top Scottish lawyer, Richard Keen.

He said in his resignation letter to Johnson that he had “found it increasingly difficult to reconcile what I consider to be my obligations as a lawyer with your political intentions regarding the UKIM bill”.

After quelling a backbench revolt over the legislation and under pressure to make its intention clearer, the government on Thursday released a document setting out various scenarios in which the bill’s provisions would be implemented.

But in an apparent olive branch in Brussels, the document said the government would also seek to resolve post-Brexit disputes with the EU in “appropriate formal dispute settlement mechanisms”, and not unilaterally.

The document was released as key negotiators in the EU-UK trade talks met in Brussels, to try again to avoid a potentially ruinous breakup when a post-Brexit transition period expires at the end of this year .

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