The Stephen Livingstone lecture: human rights vs good relations?
Continuing the review (link to the complete series) of Martin O'Brien's speech on 'Human rights and the Agreement: how far have we come?', the 2009 Stephen Livingstone memorial lecture.
O'Brien takes a tilt at this old canard…
"I want to touch also on the counter-posing of equality and good relations which also seems to be in vogue again.
The Northern Ireland Act very clearly states the primacy of the equality duty and the Hansard debate on the legislation explains that good relations must be built on equality.
You can’t have sustainable good relationships on the basis of inequality. As I referred to earlier Mary Robinson talks about the centrality of “fairness to right relationships”.
In the last decade the gap between the prosperous and the poor has widened.
That will continue unless we accept that tackling structural inequalities must be at the heart of creating an inclusive future.
Put simply: we build good relations by making real the human rights of those who have least access to opportunity.
Through that prism we can begin to reshape our relationships.
A failure to do so lays the foundations for future instability. "
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