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NIHRC publish papers on the rights of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants post Brexit

20 Nov 2023

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is today launching research ‘Article 2 of the Windsor Framework and the rights of refugees and persons seeking asylum’ at Clifton House, Belfast. The paper finds that refugees and asylum seekers are protected by Article 2 of the Windsor Framework, which ensures the protection of certain human rights and equality in Northern Ireland post Brexit.

The research, carried out by Alison Harvey, examines how asylum and immigration law aligns with the safeguards of Article 2 of the Windsor Framework, specifically the two pivotal obligations to ‘keep pace’ and to make sure a ‘diminution’ of rights does not occur. The research refers to the relevant chapter of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement considering the protection afforded by Article 2, and then uses case studies to illustrate whether there has been a diminution of rights under either the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 or the Illegal Migration Act 2023.

It finds that persons seeking asylum and refugees are encompassed within the protections and safeguards afforded by chapter 6 of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.

The Commission is also launching a further research report by Alison Harvey, which examines the protection offered to immigrants under the equality directives with which NI law has to ‘keep pace’ after Brexit.

Speaking about the research, Alyson Kilpatrick, Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission said:

This research is the latest in our series of research papers that seek to clarify how rights are protected by Article 2 of the Windsor Framework. Human rights are universal, and the asylum paper rightly highlights that persons seeking asylum and refugees should be afforded the protections and safeguards in the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. As the paper states, the scope of the rights covered by the Agreement is most likely to be established through challenges, including legal challenges such as the Commission’s own motion challenge against the Illegal Migration Act. The immigration and equality research highlights the potential benefits and limitations of equality law in NI after Brexit.”

To read the full report click here.

For the link to the ‘Legal analysis of immigration or related rights & equality protections in NI after Brexitclick here.



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About the NIHRC’s role after Brexit

Since 1 January 2021, both the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission have had duties and powers to monitor, supervise, advise, enforce, and report on the UK Government’s commitment in Article 2 of the Windsor Framework.

For more information see here:

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