In accordance with the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, the Commission meets with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission in a joint committee. This is committee is a forum for considering human rights issues in the island of Ireland, affecting both jurisdictions.
The Committee’s work
The Joint Committee meets throughout the year with alternate meetings taking place in Belfast and Dublin.
A Charter of Rights for the Island of Ireland
The Joint Committee has considered the possibility of establishing a charter for the protection of fundamental rights of everyone living in both jurisdictions on the island of Ireland. On 27 June 2011, they published their Advice on a charter of rights for the Island of Ireland.
The advice is based on a study of the human rights protections which the UK and Ireland have signed up to, in political agreements, the European Convention on Human Rights and other international human standards.
The Joint Committee recommends that, as a minimum, a Charter of Rights for the Island of Ireland should reaffirm the political parties’ commitment to the rights in the European Convention on Human Rights.
Next steps on a Charter of Rights
The advice was presented to the governments of the UK and Ireland and the leaders of the political parties in Northern Ireland and Ireland. The Joint Committee encourages political parties and the two governments to take the advice forward and to state their commitment to a Charter of Rights for the Island of Ireland.