Joint Committee continues focus on protecting human rights after Brexit

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Joint Committee continues focus on protecting human rights after Brexit

Representatives of the Joint Committee, consisting of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, met on Wednesday at Farmleigh House and Estate to review human rights issues on the island of Ireland, in light of recent Brexit proceedings.

The Joint Committee discussed the publication of the draft agreement for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, should it come into force, examining in detail the provisions relating to human rights and equality, in particular the revised Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

The Joint Committee welcomed Article 2 of the revised protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland in the draft Withdrawal Agreement, which states that the UK ‘shall ensure that no diminution of rights, safeguards or equality of opportunity, as set out in that part of the 1998 Agreement entitled Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity results from its withdrawal from the Union.’

The Joint Committee also welcomed Article 14 of the revised protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland in the Draft Withdrawal Agreement, which includes a new legal provision relating to the implementation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, stating that the Special Committee overseeing the Protocol will consider any matter of relevance to the rights of individualsbrought to its attention by the Joint Committee of the two Commissions, North and South.

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

“As a part of the Joint Committee, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission continues to work closely with its Northern colleagues, to place continued focus on issues of equivalency of rights and the need to ensure no diminution of rights post-Brexit.

Through a set of strategic engagements including published recommendations to Government, the Joint Committee contributes its expertise on human rights issues to the process leading to the final withdrawal agreement.”

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

“Our discussions today have focused on the practical detail of citizenship issues, including ensuring people in Northern Ireland can retain EU law rights after Brexit and how UK immigration and nationality law can be made compatible with the provisions contained within the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.”


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Notes to editor:

The Joint Committee Established Under the Good Friday Agreement

The Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement‘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.

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.


23 Oct 2019