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Blackburn father wins Liberty Human Rights Award
Paul Houston, second left, receiving his award. With him, from left to right, are photographer Mary McCartney, Allen and Overy senior partner David Morley and ceremony host Sandi Toksvig
THE father of a Blackburn schoolgirl who was killed by an uninsured driver has won a Liberty Human Rights Award.
Paul Houston has campaigned tirelessly for justice for his daughter, Amy, after failed asylum seeker, Aso Mohammed Ibrahim, left her to die in Newfield Drive in November 2003.
Iraqi Kurd Ibrahim was jailed for four months but was not deported from the country.
Ibrahim claimed he could not go back to Iraq because it was too dangerous and lawyers claimed human rights laws permitted him to remain in the country, as his right to life and to family life trumped attempts to return him to his native country.
Mr Houston, from Darwen, has since successfully campaigned to lower the speed limit in the the Ravenglass Close area to 20mph and to get a law criminalising causing death while being disqualified from driving passed.
He has also campaigned over the Human Rights Act and the way the case was handled by the Home Office.
He was awarded the Human Rights ‘Close to Home’ Award at a ceremony in South Bank Centre, London. He said: “It’s nice to get recognition for everything that you’re trying to achieve and I do believe the truth needs to be revealed.
“But I did not do any of this for accolades. Nothing will bring Amy back.
“I just wanted justice for my daughter and to know that if the same thing happened to anyone else, they would not have to go through what we went through.
“I was given the award the day after the 10-year anniversary of Amy’s death.
“I think she would have been proud of me.”
Lawyers advised Mr Houston that the Human Rights Act meant Ibrahim could not be deported but, after working with Liberty, he now feels that this view was ‘misguided’ and that responsibility was with the Border Agency.
He said: “The Border Agency issued notice to Ibrahim that he was required to leave the UK but it didn’t happen.
“When I was told that the Human Rights Act was to blame for the lack of justice for Amy, it was really just covering up a Home Office error.”
Director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, said the award was for Mr Houston’s ‘courageous defence of rights and freedoms in response to a toxic campaign that used his daughter Amy’s death to undermine the Human Rights Act’.
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