Contained within the Ireland/Northern Ireland protocol of the draft Withdrawal Agreement is a commitment from the UK to ensure that, in the event of Brexit, there will be “no diminution” of key rights set out in the Good Friday Agreement.
This commitment is to be implemented through ‘dedicated mechanisms’, including new oversight and enforcement powers for the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI) and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC).
However, even at this late stage there has been no further information from the UK government as to the nature of such powers. Nor any parliamentary or public scrutiny of them.
Because of this, CAJ has provided evidence in relation to these new powers to the House of Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee, which is currently conducting an inquiry into ‘Rights after Brexit’.
Our submission urges the Committee to seek clarification over a number of different areas, including the exact nature of the powers and whether the intention is to protect all rights contained within the GFA or only a portion of them (which is what the correct wording appears to suggest).
Additionally, we encourage the Committee to question what will happen in the event of the UK making a ‘no deal’ exit from the EU.
The submission is available to read here: CAJ-evidence-to-Lords-EU-Justice-Sub-Committee-Inquiry-on-Rights-after-Brexit