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What are the powers and duties of the Human Rights Commission as part of the Dedicated Mechanism?

Since 1 January 2021, both the Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission have had duties and powers to monitor, supervise, advise, enforce, and report on this commitment.

These duties and powers are set out in the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, amending the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

In particular, the Commissions’ powers and duties include:

• Monitoring how the commitment is implemented;

• Reporting on its implementation to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and The Executive Office;

• Advising the government of legislative and other measures that must be taken to implement the commitment;

• Advising the Northern Ireland Assembly (or a committee of the Assembly) whether a Bill is compatible with the commitment;

• Promoting understanding and awareness of how important the commitment is;

• Powers to bring, or intervene in, legal proceedings in respect of an alleged breach (or potential future breach) of the commitment; and

• Powers to assist individuals in relevant legal proceedings.

Further to these duties and powers, the Commissions provide regular reports to the UK Government and Northern Ireland Executive and identify any changes to human rights and equality protections as a consequence of Brexit.

The Commissions can exercise these powers and fulfil these duties jointly or separately.

Memorandum of Understanding: Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

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