UN backs Northern Ireland Bill of Rights
The United Nations has backed Northern Ireland proposals for a Bill of Rights.
"The Committee notes the draft Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland, which includes economic, social and cultural rights which are justiciable and calls for its enactment without delay."
That's the verdict which has come from the UN's Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which has just finished its review of human rights in the UK after days' of hearings and testimony in Geneva.
The Committee heard from local community and international non-governmental organisations, like Amnesty International and the Human Rights Consortium, and questionned government representatives on their record and plans for the protection of rights throughout the UK.
The UN Committee has now published its Concluding Observations, including this recommendation on the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights, on which Amnesty has campaigned for some years. The Concluding Observations constitute the United Nations body's authoritative interpretation of the UK’s compliance with its international obligations and set the benchmark for measuring future progress.
As such, the UK government will now be expected to comply with the recommendations by avoiding further delay in enacting a Northern Ireland Bill of Rights.
With pressure now coming from the top-down, from such an authoritative human rights body, as well as from the bottom-up, with opinion polls showing that 70% of people back the Bill, pressure is now building on the government to move ahead with consultation and legislation to make the Bill a reality.
Come on Secretary of State, let the people have their say.
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