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G8: Human rights must top agenda at 2013 summit

Amnesty International has responded to the announcement that the summit of leaders of the G8 industrialised nations will be held in Northern Ireland in June 2013, by saying that human rights and international development must be high on the agenda and that security and policing arrangements must fully respect the rights of peaceful protest.

Responding to the announcement by UK Prime Minister David Cameron that the annual summit will be held in Northern Ireland – the first time the UK has hosted the event since 2005 in Gleneagles, Scotland – Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International UK, said:

“With war, repression and extreme poverty blighting the lives of billions of people, the summit is an opportunity for G8 leaders to face up to the world's most pressing problems. That is why human rights and international development must top the agenda for world leaders when they assemble in Northern Ireland next June. We look to them to ensure that respect for universal human rights will be the hallmark of their deliberations and decision-making in 2013.

“At previous G8 summits there have been very serious concerns regarding restrictions on the rights of people to protest peacefully.  At a time when the public should be encouraged to actively engage in discussion about the challenges facing the world, we must not see the type of security measures that have marred previous G8 summits and which result in the narrowing of the space for public participation in that debate.

“The UK and Northern Ireland authorities must ensure that the public feel able to engage in peaceful debate, discussion and demonstrations about pressing global issues without feeling a sense of unease or fear.”

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