Promoting Justice /
Protecting Rights

Equality

Equality is a basic human right and in many ways can be seen as underpinning all others.

For convenience we often use the phrase “human rights and equality,” but such is the concept’s fundamental character that we should say “human rights including equality” or perhaps “equality and all other human rights.” Why? Because the essence of human rights is that they are universal and apply to everyone by virtue of their simple humanity.

Equality related publications

Any breach of the equality principle therefore undermines the moral or normative basis of all human rights. Discrimination is an assault on human dignity and sense of belonging and self-worth; but it is also a breach of the very universality which is the basic characteristic of “human” rights.

Equality is also the basis of good relations between different groups. Good relations can only be built on respect and non-discrimination in a society that everyone agrees is basically fair.

To take the contrary position and promote good relations on the basis of the toleration of inequality is to simply argue for an acceptance of discrimination and possible repression. In a divided society this understanding of the overwhelming importance and primary position of equality is even more important. All these are reasons why CAJ takes equality very seriously indeed.

Gender Specific Work

CAJ continue to support the women’s movement to ensure the full and equal participation of women in public and political life as committed to in the Good Friday/ Belfast Agreement.

CAJ continue to respond to human rights treaty bodies that advance women’s equality such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Convention on the Rights of Persons With a Disability, Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and other United Nations Resolutions such as Security Council Resolution 1325 Women, Peace and Security.

CAJ have contributed to gender specific work through working with the Women’s Policy Group to advance a Gender Equality Strategy for NI. CAJ supported the Women’s Manifesto for the NI Assembly elections in 2016. CAJ also made submissions to the Department for the Environment on women’s inclusion in community planning at a local government level in 2015. CAJ provided expert advice to the Legacy Gender Integration Group on the design of the Gender Principles for the Dealing with the Legacy of the Past 2015 and inclusion of a gender balance with regards to the setting up of any institutions for dealing with the legacy of the past in NI through the Stormont House Agreement Model Bill.

CAJ also made written submissions to the Westminster Associate Party Parliamentary Group’s call for evidence into the application of UNSCR 1325 to Northern Ireland in 2011 and 2013.

CAJ continue to work on equality of opportunity of women including all of their multiple identities through the Equality Coalition and its broader membership.

CAJ have taken a position on reproductive rights for women supporting both the decriminalisation of terminations and the liberalisation of abortion law in Northern Ireland.

Latest press releases and publications

09
Jan

Job vacancy: Equality Duty Enforcement Project Coordinator

CAJ requires an Equality Duty Enforcement Project Coordinator. The purpose of this post is to coordinate the CAJ Equality Duty Enforcement Project. The project involves scrutinising public authority policy decisions impacting on economic, social and cultural rights for compliance with the statutory equality duty provided for in Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998....
10
Dec

CAJ Annual Report 2018

CAJ marks another year spent promoting justice and protecting rights in our Annual Report 2018. It’s been an eventful twelve months for the CAJ team, not least because of the human rights implications of the UK’s impending exit from the EU. Introduction to the report: People in Northern Ireland are sometimes accused, not always unjustly,...
20
Nov

Equality Coalition Panel Discussion: Attacks on human rights defenders in Northern Ireland in 2018

When: 11am to 1pm, Tuesday 11 December 2018 Where: UNISON, Galway House, Belfast As part of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival 2018, the Equality Coalition invite to you to a panel discussion on the increasingly hostile environment faced by human rights defenders. Online abuse, trolling and threats have become common place in the digital...
31
Oct

Just News Autumn 2018

Inside this issue: Belfast journalists reject recent attacks on media freedom. Experts provide commentary on the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill and the latest legacy proposals for Northern Ireland. We examine how one council’s ban on Irish street signage ended badly in court and highlight new research which shows Brexit may weaken human rights protections....
18
Oct

Local Councils, Obligations and The Irish Language: A Framework for Compliance

Working with Conradh na Gaeilge, we have produced a report documenting how commitments made by the UK government in relation to the Irish language have been put into practice by councils in Northern Ireland. Local councils have an important role to play in fulfilling state duties in relation to the Irish language. This is because...
20
Sep

Submission on Mid Ulster Council’s draft policy for the management of bonfires

Mid Ulster Council has produced a comprehensive draft policy that seeks to address the environmental and social impacts of all bonfires held on council-owned property in the Mid Ulster area. The Council held a 13 week-long consultation on the policy across the summer, to which CAJ has responded. Our submission broadly welcomes the policy. We...
10
Sep

‘English-only’ policy confirmed to be rescinded

It was confirmed before the High Court on Friday that Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has officially rescinded it’s ‘English-only’ policy for street signs. This policy was introduced in February 2018 after a request was made by Abbeyville Residents Association in Newtownabbey to have a small number of street signs in their area expressed in...

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