Northern Ireland: 50 years on from civil rights march, new human rights warning

Fifty years on from the historic civil rights march in Derry / Londonderry, Amnesty International has warned that human rights are still being denied and are at further risk after Brexit.

Amnesty has released a powerful one-minute video to mark the 50th anniversary of the march, which makes the link between civil rights in 1968 and the denial of human rights in Northern Ireland today and asks people to sign a petition to Prime Minster Theresa May.

On 5 October 1968, a civil rights march was met with police violence in Duke Street, Derry / Londonderry. Many historians consider it the day the ‘Troubles’ started. Over 3,600 people were killed in the subsequent 30 years of conflict before the Good Friday Agreement helped to secure peace in 1998.

Amnesty is pointing out that the human rights enjoyed by people in other parts of the UK are still being denied to people in Northern Ireland, and warned that the Human Rights Act - a cornerstone of the 1998 peace agreement – could again be at risk following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty’s Northern Ireland Programme Director, said:

“Fifty years ago, people in Northern Ireland took to the streets to demand ‘British rights for British citizens’.

“Today, people in Northern Ireland are still being denied rights enjoyed by those in other parts of the UK - on issues such as marriage equality and access to abortion.

“Yet again, a Stormont government has failed to deliver internationally-recognised rights protections and people here are being left out in the cold - forced to march, petition and lobby Westminster for equal treatment.

“And, over the horizon too, there remains a real risk that the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act could be at risk after Brexit. This would be devastating to Northern Ireland’s fragile peace settlement.

“We are sounding the alarm now, rather than waiting until it’s too late to act. We are calling on people here and across the UK to stand up for our rights now and in the future by signing our human rights petition to the Prime Minister.”

More information about all the cases, as well as powerful videos and a petition already signed by more than 170,000 people, will be available at: www.savetheact.uk

View latest press releases