Northern Ireland Falling Behind on Human Rights

Home » News

Northern Ireland Falling Behind on Human Rights

Northern Ireland is failing to keep pace with the rest of the United Kingdom and Ireland on key human rights provisions. These are the findings of a report launched today by the NI Human Rights Commission.

The Commission publishes its detailed annual statement which provides an assessment of developments affecting human rights protections in Northern Ireland throughout 2018. Multiple human rights issues requiring immediate action by the UK Government, NI Executive or relevant public authorities have been identified.

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

“This is the second annual statement published against the backdrop of the absence of devolved government in Northern Ireland. The outstanding issues are profound; including the need to reform the law on access to termination of pregnancy; deal effectively with the past including outstanding investigations and legacy inquests; tackle child sexual exploitation; address the issues of children going missing from care; and the continued absence of a strategy to reduce poverty, despite this being declared unlawful in the High Court three years ago.

The stark implications of the impasse are laid bare; with more issues marked red denoting potential and ongoing violations of human rights needing immediate remedy than at any time since the annual statement was first published in 2012. This throws into sharp relief the need to restore the NI Executive and NI Assembly as soon as practicable.”

Lord Duncan of Springbank, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland will deliver the key note speech at the launch.


For further information please contact Zara Porter on 07795640237.

Notes to editors

1. The launch of the Annual Statement 2018 will take place at the Long Gallery, Stormont from 12-2pm on 10 December 2018. It is being sponsored by the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Robin Newton MBE, MLA. All media are welcome to attend.

Running order

12:00 – Guests arrive/Hospitality

12:20 – Welcome by the Speaker

12:25 – Human Rights Chief Commissioner, Les Allamby.

12:45 – Key note speaker: Lord Duncan of Springbank

13:20 – Q & A session

13:45 – Event ends

2. Lord Duncan of Springbank was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in October 2017. He is also currently Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland. One of the responsibilities of the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is that of human rights and equality. Lord Duncan served as a Scottish MEP from 2014 – 2017. In July 2017 he was granted a life peerage, thus becoming a member of the House Of Lords. He is a patron of the LGBT+ Conservatives group and has previously served as Vice President of the European Parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup.

3. The Annual Statement is a detailed report assessing the state of human rights in Northern Ireland. It is published each year. Read the full document here.

4. The Annual Statement 2018 sets out 12 red issues that requires immediate action by the UK Government, NI Executive or relevant public authorities. A red category highlights that the issue may be an ongoing violation or abuse of human rights within NI. The red issues in 2018 are listed below:

Right to life

Pg 30 Conflict related deaths: transitional justice and individual cases

Pg 34 Legacy inquests and inquiries

Right to liberty and security of the person

Pg 46 The remand of children

Freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment

Pg 76 Physical punishment of children

Freedom from slavery

Pg 84 Child, early and forced marriage

Pg 85 Child sexual exploitation

Pg 87 Children missing from care

Right to fair trial and the administration of justice

Pg 94 Age of criminal responsibility

Pg 98 Compensation for a miscarriage of justice

Right to private and family life

Pg 103 Access to financial support for unmarried couples

Right to an adequate standard of living and to social security

Pg 130 Anti-poverty strategy

Right to health

Pg 166 Termination of pregnancy

10 Dec 2018