NI: Amnesty International welcomes appointment of Chair of Bill Of Rights Forum

Calls for further steps by Government to help make Forum effective

Amnesty International welcomes the appointment today of leading Australian human rights lawyer, Chris Sidoti (pictured left), as the independent Chair of the Bill of Rights Forum.

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International's Northern Ireland Programme Director said:

“Over the last couple of years Amnesty International has lobbied for the establishment of a credible Round Table Forum to give Northern Ireland a Bill of Rights.

"We welcome the appointment of Chris Sidoti as the independent Chair of the Forum. Agreeing a Northern Ireland Bill of Rights is a big job but Chris Sidoti is a big hitter in the human rights world. He has been a leading advocate for human rights in Australia and beyond. Amnesty International has worked closely with Chris Sidoti in the past and we have great confidence in his abilities to help our society agree a Bill of Rights.

"However, we believe the Government needs to deliver on three further matters so that Chris Sidoti and the Forum representatives can do their job.
"One - the new Chair needs sufficient resources to allow him and the Forum to do their work effectively.

"Two - the Chair should be be able to appoint his own own independent secretariat for the Forum.

"And finally, the timeline for the Forum's work must be extended to allow for the Government's three month delay in appointing a Chairperson."

Find out more about the Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland

Chris Sidoti biography

"Since 2003 Chris has been director of the International Service for Human Rights, a non-government organisation, based in Geneva, Switzerland, that works closely with the United Nations human rights system. A human rights lawyer, activist and teacher, he has been Australian Human Rights Commissioner (1995-2000), Australian Law Reform Commissioner (1992-1995), and Foundation Director of the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (1987-1992). He has also worked in a number of non-government human rights organisations. While based in Australia until 2003, he worked extensively in the Asia Pacific region undertaking human rights training, policy and advisory work in many countries. He is a visiting professor at the University of Western Sydney and Griffith University in Australia." Source: NIO

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