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Amnesty welcomes Bill of Rights call by Irish Government

Amnesty International has welcomed a call by Irish Foreign Affairs Minister, Eamon Gilmore, for Northern Ireland party leaders to get around a negotiating table to deliver the long-awaited Bill of Rights.

Gilmore, speaking at the Alliance Party conference on Friday evening, reminded his listeners that the work of delivering the 1998 Belfast Agreement was not yet complete and that, "a Bill of Rights drawn up by agreement between the main parties would set out precisely and formally the rights upon which a shared future can be based."

Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International said:

"Amnesty welcomes this intervention by the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs. As co-guarantors, with the UK, of the Belfast Agreement, the Irish government has a binding obligation to ensure that it is delivered in full.

"We agree with the Minister's analysis that a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland is important to a peaceful and fair future and welcomes this public restatement of the Irish Government's commitment to the Bill.

"The UK Government must now follow suit and put in place a process, without further prevarication, whereby the parties and people of Northern Ireland can negotiate and agree the content of the Bill of Rights. Fourteen years after people voted for the Belfast Agreement, a political process with a clear end-goal and schedule is now necessary to complete this journey towards an agreed Bill of Rights."

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