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UK: Key Northern Ireland body warns Government of dangers over leaving ECHR

Chair of Northern Ireland Affairs Committee details dangers of leaving vital European Convention

Calls to leave ECHR fail to recognise crucial role in securing peace in Northern Ireland

‘Don’t play politics with the ECHR’ - Patrick Corrigan

Responding to a letter sent by the Chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee to the UK government today outlining concerns over the potential implications of the UK leaving the European Convention on Human Rights, Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International UK’s Northern Ireland Director, said:

“This is a welcome and timely reminder by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee of the risks that playing politics with the European Convention on Human Rights would have for peace and policing in Northern Ireland.

“The European Convention is the cornerstone of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, the foundation on which Northern Ireland’s peace is built.

“Withdrawal from the ECHR would be a clear breach of the Agreement and would imperil the peace which the people of Northern Ireland have enjoyed for a generation.

“Don’t play politics with the ECHR - that is a message which must be heard loud and clear by whoever occupies Number 10 after 4 July. No government, now or in the future, should put peace in Northern Ireland at risk for their own short-sighted political ends.”

Failure to consider Northern Ireland

The letter highlights how calls for the UK to leave the ECHR have failed to recognise its crucial role in rebuilding trust in policing and political institutions in Northern Ireland after the ‘Troubles’ and have provided no credible argument supporting such a drastic move from a Northern Ireland perspective.

Furthermore, as applied through the Human Rights Act 1998 and the devolution settlements, it provides a UK-wide standard of rights and it is unlikely the UK could withdraw from the ECHR without triggering a review procedure built into the Good Friday Agreement.

For more information on the European Convention on Human Rights go here.


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