Northern Ireland: Amnesty makes Bill of Rights call to United Nations

* Call on United Nations to back proposals for Northern Ireland Bill of Rights
* New research reveals strong Northern Ireland public support for rights bill

Amnesty International has today asked the United Nations to back proposals for a Northern Ireland Bill of Rights.

The call was made by Amnesty representatives in Geneva, as a powerful United Nations committee began an examination of the UK's human rights record.

Amnesty's appeal for international support for the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights comes as new opinion poll figures are released showing strong popular support for a Bill of Rights. An opinion poll, commissioned by campaign group the Human Rights Consortium, shows 70% of people - equally drawn from Northern Ireland's Protestant and Catholic communities - think the Bill is important for the future. Over 90% of the 1,000-strong sample expresssed support for the inclusion of social and economic rights, such as basic rights to healthcare and housing.

"People in Northern Ireland have now been waiting for more than ten years for the promise of a Bill of Rights to be delivered," said Amnesty International's Northern Ireland programme director, Patrick Corrigan.

"An effective Bill of Rights can help ensure Northern Ireland never revisits the worst days of its past, but can also help deliver a future where the rights of all are secured and the most vulnerable are protected. The international community is interested in seeing a secure peace in Northern Ireland built upon the firm foundations of human rights protections. These opinion poll figures show a Bill of Rights, fit for purpose, is also strongly supported by ordinary people in Northern Ireland."

The United Nations Committee on Economic and Social Rights received Amnesty International's submission as it met in Geneva for a two-day review of the UK's human rights record.

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