Campaign launched for Bill of Rights in Northern Ireland

A major public advertising campaign in support of a Bill of Rights in Northern Ireland has been launched by a coalition co-led by Amnesty International.

The Human Rights Consortium – which is made up of 120 NGOs, community groups and trade unions – has launched a two-month long advertising push promoting the potential benefits of a Bill of Rights. The campaign highlights specific social problems experienced in Northern Ireland, such as sectarian attacks and child poverty, with each advertisement ending on the tag-line, “That’s why we need a Bill of Rights”.

The message will feature on billboards bus sides, in local newspapers and magazines, as well as on drinks mats in venues throughout Northern Ireland.

The campaign coincides with the culmination of the work of the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights Forum, a body set up by government to make recommendations for the Bill, which is expected to report at the end of March.

A Northern Ireland-specific Bill of Rights was proposed in the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Amnesty International subsequently made policy submissions to the Human Rights Commission on the contents and structure of the Bill, recommending that it should enshrine the highest human rights standards available in international law.

Yet a decade on, the Bill of Rights remains one of the unfulfilled promises of the Agreement.

Campaigners now hope that the Northern Ireland-wide advertising campaign will help to engage the public in a positive debate about the Bill and focus attention on the potential practical benefits that a strong Bill of Rights could bring to vulnerable groups in society.

Find out more and to take action calling for a Bill of Rights at: www.billofrightsni.org

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