Promoting Justice /
Protecting Rights

International Solidarity

CAJ has always based its policy stance on international human rights standards. These are contained in global and regional treaties and conventions (known as “hard law”) and in a plethora of standards, treaty body comments, committee of experts commentaries, reports by UN Special Rapporteurs and so on (known as “soft law”). International standards are usually regarded as minimum standards and “soft law” standards can only be treated as advisory.

However, all of these documents are the product of international consultation and negotiation and represent the best consensus that those concerned about human rights globally can achieve. They are therefore as authoritative as any international formulations can be in an imperfect world. One of the truly important products from adhering to international standards is that it counters the usual refrain, especially in conflict and post-conflict societies, which says that human rights advocates are supporters of enemies of the state. We have suffered from that in Northern Ireland and many activists still do – if you criticise the state you must be on the side of those who try to subvert it. By sticking to international standards we assert a global norm which transcends the particularities of any given society.

CAJ has also sought international solidarity throughout its history, but particularly during the conflict and peace negotiations. We have also, as far as we have been able, tried to give solidarity to our brothers and sisters throughout the world striving for human rights. We were a “corresponding” member of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) for many years and in 2016 became a full “affiliate” member.

Latest press releases and publications

17
Sep

Submission to UN Human Rights Council on UK impunity proposals for the NI conflict

The UN Human Rights Council has been examining concerns related to the Northern Ireland Office’s impunity proposals. In recent months, the UK has unilaterally departed from the provisions of the 2014 Stormont House Agreement (SHA). Instead, the UK now proposes introducing legislation that would include a statute-bar on investigating conflict related incidents, along with an...
01
Apr

Submission to the Committee of Ministers in relation to the supervision of the cases concerning the action of the security forces in Northern Ireland (February 2021)

CAJ regularly makes submissions the Committee of Ministers on the ‘McKerr group of cases’ concerning the actions of the security forces in the 1980s and 1990s in Northern Ireland. Our recent submissions have charted the unilateral abandonment by the UK of commitments to implement the legacy mechanisms contained within the Stormont House Agreement (SHA), and...
08
Feb

Submission responding to the UK’s latest update on its compliance with European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages

CAJ has provided comment on the UK’s official response to the 5th report on its adherence to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML). Our submission is limited to commentary on the UK’s commitments in Northern Ireland  under the ECRML, namely those related to the promotion and protection of Irish and Ulster Scots....
02
Feb

Model Bill Team submission to the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice Reparations and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence is drafting a follow-up report to examine to what extent the UK has implemented recommendations made based on an official visit to the country in 2016. Civil society groups and national human rights institutions have been given an opportunity to...
03
Dec

Submission to the Committee of Ministers in relation to the supervision of the cases concerning the action of the security forces in Northern Ireland (October 2020)

The Committee of Ministers is the decision-making body of Europe’s leading human rights organisation, the Council of Europe. Its functions include examining the execution of judgments made by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in a series of cases in which states have been found to have committed human rights violations. CAJ regularly makes submissions the...
01
Dec

CAJ responds to Secretary of State smokescreen and refusal to discharge commitment to order a Public Inquiry into the killing of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane

The case of Pat Finucane is one of profound importance for society in Northern Ireland and for those who believe in the rule of law. CAJ condemns the refusal of the UK government to hold a proper independent inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane. The statement by Secretary of State Brandon Lewis alluding to...
04
Sep

Council of Europe sets final deadline for UK to come clean on NI legacy bill and Pat Finucane investigation

The body overseeing implementation of the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has given a final deadline to the UK government by which it must provide details of its proposals to deal with the legacy of the conflict in Northern Ireland. The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers has requested the information...
07
May

Submission to UN Committee Against Torture: Follow up on the UK’s sixth periodic report

Last year, the UK submitted its sixth periodic report on its compliance with the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. All states signed up this convention – including the UK – have a duty to prevent and investigate torture, support victims of torture, and ensure perpetrators are punished....
27
Apr

Submission to the Committee of Ministers in relation to the supervision of the cases concerning the action of the security forces in Northern Ireland (April 2020)

The Committee of Ministers is the decision-making body of Europe’s leading human rights organisation, the Council of Europe. In June 2020, the 1377th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies will examine the execution of judgments made by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in a series of cases in which states have been found to...

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