Chief Commissioner Welcomes Assembly Debate on Human Rights Act
01 Jun 2015
1 June 2015
The Chief Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission has responded to the motion on the Human Rights Act which is due to be debated in the Assembly today.
Chief Commissioner Les Allamby commented:
“We welcome that the Northern Ireland Assembly will be debating the Human Rights Act today and recognise that Members have acknowledged this important issue. The future of the Act has been the subject of much speculation and public discourse. Our position on this is clear- any proposed changes to our current human rights framework, must not reduce the protections contained in the Human Rights Act, nor weaken the mechanisms for securing redress for breaches of human rights.
The Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement committed the UK Government to incorporate the European Convention on Human Rights into Northern Ireland law, with direct access to the courts, and remedies for breaches of the Convention. The Human Rights Act fulfilled this commitment. The Commission has repeatedly advised against a move which can only serve to undermine a foundation stone of the Northern Ireland peace process, reduce hard won protections for everyone living in the UK, and damage the states international reputation.”
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Notes to editors
1. The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory body first proposed in the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement (1998) and established in 1999 by the Northern Ireland Act (1998). It is answerable to Parliament at Westminster.
2. The N.I Assembly Order paper for 1 June 2015 has listed the following motion for discussion in the Plenary session:
Private Members’ Business
Motion: Human Rights Act 1998
That this Assembly recognises the vital importance that the Human Rights Act 1998 plays in the lives of citizens of the United Kingdom; further recognises the importance of this Act to the Good Friday Agreement and the devolution of policing and justice powers; and rejects any attempts by the Conservative Government to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998.
Mr S Dickson
Mr C Lyttle
Ms A Lo