NI Human Rights Commission launches Annual Statement 2016

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The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is launching its Annual Statement on Thursday 8 December and is delighted to welcome the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Privacy Professor Joseph Cannataci, as the key note speaker at the event. He will be speaking on: ‘Privacy, The Right to Silence and your Mobile Phone’.

NIHRC Chief Commissioner, Les Allamby, said:

“We are delighted to welcome the UN Special Rapporteur and his visit is especially timely. This year our Annual Statement charts some welcome progress in Northern Ireland. We have a given a green light to the extension on eligibility to donate blood and the publication of the racial equality strategy. However we clearly have some way to go to improve our laws, as highlighted by issuing a red light on termination of pregnancy and civil marriage for same sex couples. On international issues the N.I Executive needs to do more to play its full role within the United Nations human rights system. On local issues, resources and commitment are needed to continue on dealing with the past. The Commission will continue to play its part to promote and protect everyone in Northern Ireland and in launching this report today we want the N.I Executive to take stock of the content and start bringing about change”.


For further information please contact Claire Martin on or 0771 7731873 (mobile).

Notes to editors

1. The launch of the Annual Statement 2016 will take place at Room 115 from 10.30am-12.30pm. It is being sponsored by the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Robin Newton MBE, MLA.

2. Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy Professor Joseph Cannataci is the newest United Nations Special Rapporteur. He has written extensively on issues of privacy in a digital age and commented on global issues as well as recent developments within the United Kingdom. He is the Head of the Department of Information Policy & Governance at the Faculty of Media & Knowledge Sciences of the University of Malta. He also holds the Chair of European Information Policy & Technology Law within the Faculty of Law at the University of Groningen where he co-founded the STeP Research Group. He has written books and articles on data protection law, liability for expert systems, legal aspects of medical informatics, copyright in computer software and co-authored various papers and textbook chapters on self-regulation and the Internet, the EU Constitution and data protection, on-line dispute resolution, data retention and police data. His latest book “The Individual & Privacy” is published by Ashgate (March 2015)

3. The 2016 Annual Statement contains a traffic lights system with the aim of making the document more accessible to readers.

· Green identifies a subject that has been acknowledged as requiring action to protect human rights in NI and an effective response has been provided by the UK Government, NI Executive or relevant public authorities. A firm commitment to address the matter will have been demonstrated and undertaken.

· Amber identifies a subject that requires action by the UK Government, NI Executive or relevant public authorities. The issue may not be at a level that constitutes an ongoing violation or abuse of human rights. Initial steps toward providing an effective response could have already been taken or the necessity of taking action acknowledged by the relevant body. Such actions may have commenced but are not yet completed.

· Red identifies a subject that requires immediate action by the UK Government, NI Executive or relevant public authorities and the issue may be an ongoing violation or abuse of human rights.

4. List of outcomes categorised by traffic light system in NIHRC 2016 Annual Statement:


1. Eligibility to donate blood (Pg.14)

2. Racial Equality Strategy (Pg.18)

3. Prison Ombudsman (Pg26)

4. Public Services Ombudsperson Bill (Pg.50)

5. Housing (Anti-social Behaviour) Act 2016 (Pg.53)

6. Supported lodgings for young adults (Pg.77)


1. Consolidating, strengthening and clarifying equality protections (Pg.12)

2. Age discrimination (Pg.13)

3. Extension of civil marriage to same sex couples (Pg.14)

4. Gender equality strategy (Pg.15)

5. Hate crimes (Pg.15)

6. Intersectional multiple discrimination (Pg.17)

7. Persons with disabilities (Pg.17)

8. Religious tolerance (Pg.17)

9. Sectarianism (Pg.19)

10. Sexual Orientation Strategy (Pg.20)

11. Inquiries Act 2005 (Pg.24)

12. Rule of law: non-state actors (Pg.24)

13. Alternatives to imprisonment (Pg.27)

14. Imprisonment for fine default (Pg.28)

15. Women in Prison (Pg.29)

16. Imprisonment of children with adults (Pg.29)

17. Definition of terrorism (Pg. 31)

18. Powers of arrest under the Terrorism Act 2000 (Pg.32)

19. Prison review and conditions (Pg.33)

20. Strip searches.(Pg.34)

21. Abuse in health and social care settings (Pg.35)

22. Historical abuse of children and adults (Pg.35)

23. Domestic violence (Pg.36)

24. Allegations of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment overseas (Pg.38)

25. Deprivation of citizenship (Pg.39)

26. Mechanisms to identify victims of torture detained in immigration facilities(Pg. 40)

27. Female genital mutilation (Pg.41)

28. Syrian refugee crisis (Pg.42.)

29. Child sexual exploitation (Pg.44)

30. Human Trafficking (Pg.46)

31. Avoidable delay(Pg.47)

32. Witness Charter (Pg.47)

33. Compensation for a miscarriage of justice (Pg.48)

34. Closed material proceedings (Pg.49)

35. Access to Justice (Pg.49)

36. Alternatives care arrangements for children (Pg.51)

37. Stop and search (Pg.52)

38. Environmental Regulation (Pg.53)

39. Health and Social Care (Control of Data Processing) Act 2016 (Pg.54)

40. Parades and protests (Pg.55)

41. Participation of women in public and political life (Pg.56)

42. Blasphemy (Pg.57)

43. Defamation(Pg.38)

44. Accessible childcare (Pg.59)

45. Armed Forces Covenant (Pg.60)

46. Social security (Pg.62)

47. Social housing (Pg.63)

48. Homelessness (Pg.66)

49. Travellers accommodation (Pg.69)

50. Unauthorised Encampments (NI) Order 2005 (Pg.71)

51. Child poverty strategy (Pg.73)

52. Reduction in asylum financial support (Pg.74)

53. Crisis fund (Pg.76)

54. Carers (Pg.77)

55. Emergency healthcare (Pg.78)

56. Mental capacity (Pg.81)

57. Access to healthcare for irregular migrants (Pg.82)

58. Integrated education (Pg.84)

59. Shared education (Pg.85)

60. Academic selection (Pg.86)

61. Educational needs of Traveller children (Pg.87)

62. Special educational need (Pg.87)

63. Bullying in Schools (Pg.88)

64. The Irish language and Ulster Scots (Pg.90)

65. A Bill of Rights for NI (Pg.93)

66. A UK Bill of Rights (Pg.93)

67. A Charter of Rights for the island of Ireland (Pg.94)

68. National human rights institution (Pg.95)

69. UK membership of the European Union (Pg.95)


1. Conflict related deaths: transitional justice and individual cases (Pg.21)

2. Legacy inquests and inquiries (Pg. 23)

3. The remand of children (Pg. 23)

4. Corporal punishment of children (Pg.43)

5. Child, early and forced marriage (Pg.45)

6. Age of criminal responsibility (Pg.50)

7. Anti- Poverty Strategy (Pg.72)

8. Termination of Pregnancy (Pg.79)

5. 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.

08 Dec 2016