NIHRC comments on Expert Report

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NIHRC comments on Expert Report

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has responded to the recent report issued by the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

Chief Commissioner Les Allamby stated:

“This expert UK wide report focuses on the Protection of National and Ethnic Minorities. It makes recommendations for immediate action to be taken in Northern Ireland on Traveller accommodation, Irish language legislation and the Good relations duty under the Northern Ireland Act.

The Commission has continuously engaged with this Committee and highlighted the gaps that exist in Northern Ireland on these issues and others including tackling hate crime and implementation of the Ulster Scots Strategy.

It is therefore disappointing that the NI Executive has yet again failed to engage in this important process. It follows a chain of non- engagement by the N.I Executive in human rights reporting processes. Scotland, England and Wales all report, N.I has again failed to do so. Contributing to this process only serves to enhance the rights of vulnerable groups in Northern Ireland and we urge the Executive to address this issue as soon as possible.”

The Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities made a number of recommendations for immediate action in relation to Northern Ireland:

The Northern Ireland Executive should:

1. Set-up a multi-agency Taskforce on Traveller accommodation in Northern Ireland to cater for the needs of Irish Travellers;

2. Adopt appropriate legislation protecting and promoting the Irish language and take measures to ensure progress on language rights of persons belonging to the Irish minority; the UK Government should engage in a dialogue to create the political consensus needed for adopting legislation;

3. Endeavour to implement the ‘good relations’ duty as provided under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 in a manner that does not run counter to the equality duty and that does not prevent access to rights of persons belonging to all national and ethnic minorities.

10 Mar 2017