North-South Joint Committee meets at Stormont
The Joint Committee of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has met at Stormont today.
Established under the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement to consider human rights issues in the island of Ireland, the Joint Committee has commissioned several pieces of research - the most recent of which was launched last year and focussed on the Common Travel Area. As part of Wednesday’s meeting, the Committee also reviewed its report into evolving justice arrangements post-Brexit, which is due to be published in the coming months.
Les Allamby, Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, stated:
“We are pleased to host today’s meeting in Belfast, and to continue to build on the innovative work of the Joint Committee. Once again, we were able to reflect on the ongoing impact of the UK’s Withdrawal from the EU and put in place plans for future work, including looking at the outstanding citizenship issues and the ramifications of leaving the EU on the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. We look forward to launching the Joint Committee’s research into justice arrangements post-Brexit soon, and to further develop other crucial areas of research, which will have an impact across the island of Ireland.”
Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, stated:
“While uncertainty remains around the process of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the Joint Committee’s work as set out under the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement remains sharply focused on working to deliver a continuing North-South equivalence of rights.”
For further information, please contact:
Zara Porter, NIHRC Communications & Public Affairs Officer,
0779 5640237 (mobile)
Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,
01 8589601 / 087 0697095 (mobile)
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.
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.
In March 2018, the Joint Committee released its Policy statement on the United Kingdom withdrawal from the European Unionand it has also commissioned research in relation to the Human Rights and Equality Impacts of Brexitand in relation to the Common Travel Area.
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.
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.
22 May 2019