Does the Charity Commission even know what charity is?
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After reading an article in The Guardian by Geoffrey Robertson QC about the Charity Commissions refusal to provide the HDT registration as a charity in 2014, it got me thinking about the registration process and how not once does the law give any regard to moral principles.
This is certainly understandable but I wondered how many of the general public would be aware? – If a charitable cause fighting for rights of a group of people can be declined Charity Status (although this has since been revoked and they are now a charity), I wonder how many of them payed attention to the cost attributed to this decision, which essentially means the funds are reduced to spend on support of all other charities by the body – added to removing funds from the valuable work of the HDT. The casefile from the tribunal states “It is important to record that the Charity Commission made clear in its decision, and indeed in its submissions to the Tribunal, that its objections to the registration of HDT were technical legal ones and that it recognised HDT’s valuable philanthropic work in the field of human rights” So this means they added a legal burden to this charity to instigate a tribunal because of their own ‘technical legal objections’.
What does this say for the state of the Charity Commission decision makers who declined this group? Or that a processes hasn’t been created to allow the commission to make this decision, after all they have the power of the high court as stated in the Charities Act.
I can understand the Charity Commissions stance that an aim to change law may be perceived as political, however the aim was to protect individuals by changing laws which persecute them…..how can that NOT be a charity in any view?
I think this case should have hopefully made clear some issues with charitable wording, however this shouldn’t have been needed and certainly not in the way this has had to have happened. There should be a clarification of political purpose and an extension to be very specific.
Fighting for rights to specific subset, one which does not remove other living beings rights
What if they were fighting for rights of another group, more decisive? Lets say they were fighting for rights of people who want slavery to return, this wouldn’t be allowed as not only would this be a ridiculous cause, but it clearly fights for rights that remove others rights and dignity.
Any organisation which fights directly for rights of a demographic that doesn’t ask for rights to be removed from others to achieve their aims MUST be a charity, regardless of what risks this poses to UK foreign relations. Although its written in law that the High Court must take into considerations any foreign relations and not judge upon their laws, the UK has a responsibility to the world in standing up for rights of people, regardless of what political impact that may have. By not allowing the register of a charity like this, they give legitimacy to countries who do destroy human rights, that in itself is a worse political statement for the UK.
The Human Dignity Trust have even been praised by Ulrike Lunacek, Vice-President of the European Parliament;