Bill of Rights blocked again – CAJ responds to the report published today by the Ad Hoc Committee on a Bill of Rights.
CAJ Director, Brian Gormally, said, “The report from the Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee on a Bill of Rights shows that progress towards a Bill of Rights has again been blocked by those opposed to human rights.
“The Committee’s summary of findings from stakeholder events and its consultation found that an overwhelming majority of people felt a Bill of Rights was very important and long overdue. Yet one party – the DUP – refuses to support this majority view.
“This should not have happened. In 1998, the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement proposed that the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) should advise on the content for a Bill of Rights and gave the UK Parliament responsibility for enacting it. The wholly invented condition for a local political consensus has turned into a political veto.
“The Ad Hoc Committee has gathered a wealth of evidence and heard from experts from across the world. It failed to appoint its own Committee of Experts, apparently as a result of another DUP veto, which damaged its credibility. Nonetheless, the Ad Hoc Committee has shown that most parties support a Bill of Rights, though some are clearer in this support than others. The Committee has also kept the issue alive, and demonstrated, yet again, the tremendous popular support for a Bill of Rights.
“After almost 24 years, we need a Bill of Rights as much as ever and the responsibility for delivering one remains with the UK Government. It should now ask NIHRC to update its Bill of Rights advice, which was first given in 2008, and then propose legislation on that basis.
“No more vetoes on human rights!”
Please direct media enquiries to Robyn Scott, Communications & Equality Coalition Coordinator on email@example.com or 075 1994 1203.