Northern Ireland: Amnesty calls on UK government to lead process to deliver Bill of Rights
Posted: 17 December 2010
Amnesty International has called on the UK Government to lead a political process to secure agreement on a Northern Ireland Bill of Rights.
The call comes as the government published the responses received to a public consultation on the Bill of Rights held earlier this year.
Tens of thousands of people responded to the consultation by calling for the government to legislate for a strong Northern Ireland Bill of Rights, which was first envisioned in the 1998 Belfast / Good Friday Agreement and advanced in the 2006 St Andrew's Agreement.
Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International's Northern Ireland Programme Director, said:
“Amnesty International welcomes today's publication of the responses to the government consultation on the Bill of Rights. The huge response shows an overwhelming call from ordinary people and community groups in favour of new, strong legislation to improve human rights protection in Northern Ireland.
"In terms of the party political responses, it should be no surprise that there is disagreement among parties in Northern Ireland on this issue, as there has been on many other issues over recent years. The appropriate response from government to such political challenges is not to attempt to shirk responsibility, but rather it is to show leadership.
"The UK government should demonstrate its commitment to delivering in full the human rights protections, which were offered by the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement Agreement, by developing a political process with the Northern Ireland parties which can deliver on those promises. We also call on the Irish government to play their role in this process in their capacity as co-guarantors of the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement."