Human Rights Commission visits Shimna Integrated College

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Human Rights Commission visit Shimna Integrated College

Students at Shimna Integrated College explored a number of human rights issues affecting those who live in Northern Ireland today.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission visited the school in Newcastle and met with Year 9 pupils as well as both the Amnesty and Gay-Straight Alliance groups.

Those in Year 9 heard about migrants who have been subjected to forced labour and modern day slavery.

The Amnesty and Gay-Straight Alliance groups discussed human rights issues surrounding the LGBTI community in Northern Ireland.

Principal of Shimna Integrated College, Kevin Lambe said:

“One of the most important things we can all learn is empathy and the visit of NIHRC during Refugee Week has enabled us in Shimna Integrated College to explore human rights and equality issues and to examine and consolidate our empathy. Our grateful thanks go to Les Allamby and his team and we wish them every success in their important work.”

Chief Commissioner, Les Allamby, commented:

“We are delighted to work with Shimna Integrated College and discuss the work of the Human Rights Commission. It is important that young people know their rights and even more vital that public bodies like ourselves hear directly from young people about what issues matter to them most.”


Further information:

For further information please contact Claire Martin on: (028) 9024 3987 or by email on

Notes to Editors

1. The animation on the work of the NI Human Rights Commission can be viewed here.

2. The Hidden Rights video on Migrants Rights can be viewed here.

3. The video on LGBTI Rights, made in partnership with The Rainbow Project NI can be viewed here.

4. In its latest Annual Human Rights Statement the Commission highlighted that during 2016, 33 potential victims of human trafficking were referred from NI, representing a decrease of 20 victims on 2015 referral figures. This figure included: 12 adult males; 15 adult females; four boys; and two girls. Labour exploitation was the primary reason for referral comprising 42 per cent of the referrals; while 30 per cent were referred for sexual exploitation; nine per cent for domestic servitude; and another 18 per cent referred as unknown exploitation type.

The Commission recommended in its Annual Statement that the NI Executive continues to take effective measures to address human trafficking and exploitation including through the appointment of independent guardians to assist, represent and support children who are believed to be victims of trafficking. Access the human rights statement here.

5. The Commission works to promote and protect the human rights of everyone in Northern Ireland. The Commission remains concerned that NI is the only part of the UK retaining a statutory bar on same sex couples marrying. It observes that a change in the law elsewhere may have led to an unequal level of human rights protection across the jurisdictions of the UK and continues to advise the Department of Finance of these concerns. The Commission successfully challenged the law to enable unmarried and same sex couples to apply to adopt in Northern Ireland. The United Kingdom has signed up to the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child which offers protections for all children and young people including those who identify as LGBTI. For more details on human rights or the Commission’s work see

6. The NI Human Rights Commission is a statutory public body established in 1999 to promote and protect human rights. In accordance with the Paris Principles the Commission reviews the adequacy and effectiveness of measures undertaken by the UK Government to promote and protect human rights, specifically within Northern Ireland (NI).

22 Jun 2018