Human Rights Committee seeks public views in cross-border visit

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Human Rights Committee seeks public views in cross-border visit

The human rights and equality impacts of Brexit on people and bodies operating across the border will be heard today in Armagh as the Joint Committee of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission meets with the police forces, probation services, politicians and civil society groups.

The joint visit by the two Human Rights Institutions forms part of their work under the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in examining human rights and equality issues in the island of Ireland.

The Joint Committee will be meeting with community groups, organisations working on human rights issues, politicians, and police within the local area to discuss human rights issues, including those related to cross-border matters.

Les Allamby, Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission commented:

“This visit provides a prime opportunity for the local community to raise human rights issues with the Joint Committee. We are particularly conscious of the cross-border implications of the UK Government leaving the European Union. The Joint Committee has worked extensively to protect human rights issues, including publishing research on the cross-border implications for criminal and civil justice and the potential ramifications for the Common Travel Area. We have engaged with the key players in London, Dublin and Brussels as well as looking intently at what is likely to happen on the ground in local communities after Brexit. We look forward to listening to what issues and concerns local groups have, it will enable us to map out what we as a Committee need to focus on in the coming months.”

Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission said:

“Continued uncertainty about the form of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, is seeing border communities left out on a limb in understanding their rights and how to vindicate those rights.”
“From cross-border workers’ rights, to access to healthcare and policing, we are here to continue our focus on ensuring rights standards and fulfilment do not fall foul of Brexit.”

ENDS

For further information, please contact:

Claire Martin, NIHRC

07769361156

Brian Dawson, IHREC

01 8589601 / 087 0697095

Notes to Editors
The Joint Committee of NIHRC and IHREC will be conducting their engagement on Tuesday 26 March at the North South Ministerial Council Joint Secretariat, 58 Upper English Street, Armagh, BT61 7LG.
Photo opportunity with:
9.15 – 10.30 Joint Committee
10:30 - 11:00 North South Ministerial Council Secretariat (N&S)
11:00 - 11:15 Break
11:15 - 12:15 Probation Board NI, The Probation Service, Police Service NI
12:15 - 13:15 Local Politicians
13.15 – 14:00 Lunch (Joint Committee)
14.00 - 16.00 Civil Society Organisations
16.00 - 16.45 Centre for Cross Border Studies

The Joint Committee Established Under the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement

The Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement<https://www.dfa.ie/media/dfa/alldfawebsitemedia/ourrolesandpolicies/northernireland/good-friday-agreement-1.pdf>‘s section on rights, safeguards and equality of opportunities, provides for a joint committee of representatives of Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, as a North-South forum for consideration of human rights issues in the island of Ireland.

The founding statutes of both the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission have ensured a formal basis in law for the Joint Committee.

The Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, as an international treaty, recognised by the United Nations, laid down a mandate for both national human rights institutions, and the mechanism to ensure strong cooperation between them.

Throughout its work on Brexit, the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement Joint Committee has met with ambassadors and key officials in the UK and Irish permanent missions to the UN in Geneva and to the EU in Brussels; with the Article 50 Task Force three times; including Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier, Deputy Chief Negotiator Sabine Weyand and Advisor Nina Obermaier. The Joint Committee travelled to Westminster to meet with Sir Robin Walker MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union and his officials and met with Lord Duncan, Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in Stormont House a number of times. The Joint Committee has also met in session with the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney T.D. in Dublin.

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
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.


26 Mar 2019