UN Critical of UK Human Rights Record on Legacy Cases
Today the Human Rights Council of the United Nations is conducting its latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the UK’s record on human rights. The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has given evidence in the UPR process alongside the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Scottish Human Rights Commission.
Les Allamby, Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, said:
“The United Nations has been critical of the UK’s Human Rights record and is calling for effective investigations on deaths linked to the conflict in Northern Ireland. It urges for implementation of the Stormont House Agreement as well as the need to fund the Lord Chief Justice’s proposal to address legacy inquests. We agree with these recommendations. This is a further reminder of how much more needs to be done to deal with the past in Northern Ireland, to fulfil international human rights obligations and comply with European Court of Human Rights Judgments going back more than fifteen years. We are disappointed that the UK Government has chosen only to note rather than accept the recommendations on dealing with the past in N.I. We urge the UK Government and the N.I Executive to show leadership by implementing the Stormont House Agreement.”
The three UK Commissions will deliver a joint statement today to the Human Rights Council highlighting their wider concerns on current human rights protections including the potential implications of the UK leaving the European Union.
Les Allamby added:
“The time to address the outstanding recommendations from the United Nations human rights system is long overdue. We have joined the other UK Commissions to raise our concerns around the potential risk to people’s equality and human rights protections when the UK leaves the European Union, including by submitting amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill. It is vital there is no rolling back of human rights protections.”
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Notes to editors
1. The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory body first proposed in the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement (1998) and established in 1999 by the Northern Ireland Act (1998). It is answerable to Parliament at Westminster.
2. The Universal Periodic Review is a unique process which takes place every five years and sees a country’s human rights record scrutinised by all UN Member States. This year, the UK received 227 recommendations from the international community, but has said that it will act on only 96, just 42% of the total and significantly less than the 73% global average.
3. The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission participates in the UPR process alongside the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Scottish Human Rights Commission. Read the Joint UPR statement which will be delivered to the Human Rights Council today by EHRC Chair David Isaac here
4. Read the latest UPR submission from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission here.
5. Each year in our Annual Statement we assess developments affecting human rights protections in Northern Ireland. Issues in relation to dealing with the past are set out in pages 21-26 of the statement. The 2017 Annual statement will be published in December.