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Northern Ireland: Amnesty urges UK government to issue new proposals for NI Bill of Rights

 Amnesty International has said that current proposals from the UK Government for a Northern Ireland Bill of Rights fall far short of international standards.  The human rights organisation is urging the Government to undertake a complete reassessment of its approach and to issue new proposals. The Amnesty International analysis is contained in its response to a government consultation on the Bill of Rights proposals, which ends today.

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

“Amnesty International is deeply concerned at the current proposals from government for the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights. The proposals fall far short international human rights law and standards.

“Most worryingly, the arguments made by government for rejecting a broad range of the rights protections advised by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission betray an apparent lack of understanding of the specific role and purpose of a Bill of Rights. Amnesty regrets that the provisions proposed by the government fail to take account of developments in international law in the 60 years since the adoption of the European Convention on Human Rights.

“We have concluded that the current government proposals are fundamentally misconceived, fail to recognise the specific role and purpose of a Bill of Rights and fail to provide the people of Northern Ireland with rights protection of the highest standard. To proceed with such an approach would be a missed opportunity for human rights in Northern Ireland.

“We urge the UK Government to undertake a complete reassessment of its approach to legislating for a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland and to bring forward new proposals which better reflect both international standards in human rights protection, and the needs and wishes of ordinary in Northern Ireland.”

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