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Human Rights Act 'overhaul' could undermine Good Friday Agreement

The proposed downgrading of human rights protections across the UK is bad news for ordinary people throughout the country. But for Northern Ireland, the government’s overhaul of the Human Rights Act risks undermining the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement and the political and policing structures which flow from it.

The Human Rights Act, and the European Convention on Human Rights that it incorporates, are embedded as a key pillar of devolution. Convention rights run through the Good Friday Agreement, set the framework for post-conflict policing, and restrain the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Given Northern Ireland’s history, binding human rights obligations have been crucial in building and bolstering public confidence in policing and political structures post-Troubles.

But the Government's proposals could undermine those hard-won protections, leaving ordinary people with less access to justice and a weakened ability to hold the state to account. Taken alongside Westminster’s plan to shut down access to justice for victims of The Troubles, this proposal to weaken the Human Rights Act is deeply worrying.

The vast majority of people in Northern Ireland support the Human Rights Act and would like further protections through an additional Northern Ireland Bill of Rights. Instead, the Government at Westminster seems determined to take our society in the opposite direction.

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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