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NORTHERN IRELAND deserves the world's most advanced Bill of Rights

Amnesty International, which has documented human rights violations in Northern Ireland and made recommendations to prevent them for 30 years, urges the Commission to seize the opportunity to draft a comprehensive and effective Bill of Rights that will contribute to addressing the discrimination, intolerance and violence suffered by generations.

Looking at international standards and experiences as well as the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland, Amnesty International makes a detailed series of proposals for the content, structure and implementation of the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights.

In a detailed and lengthy submission Amnesty International says that while the organisation has focused in the past on opposing violations of civil and political rights, it believes that the Bill of Rights must also enshrine the fullest protection of social, economic and cultural rights.

Patrick Corrigan of Amnesty International UK's NI office said: 'The Agreement gives the Commission an opportunity to draft a Bill of Rights which is both especially appropriate to Northern Ireland and a shining beacon for other countries to follow. After years of human rights violations, Northern Ireland now deserves the best in human rights protection. We want Northern Ireland to get a Bill of Rights, which will not only provide a model for other parts of the United Kingdom, but which will be a model for other parts of the world.'

Among the recommendations from Amnesty International are:

- that the Bill of Rights should have a special status, entrenched in the law and above politics;

- that a special human rights court should be established to enforce the Bill of Rights;

- that victims of human rights violations should be assured of justice and, where appropriate, reparation and compensation; and

- that there should be special protection for Children's rights, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, lawyers and asylum seekers.

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