Briefing: Internal Market Bill
Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 April 2021
Read the joint briefing by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland on the Internal Market Bill.
Date produced September 2020.
Below is a summary of the recommendations contained in the brief.
You can also download the full document through the links provided.
In the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement the UK Government committed to the “incorporation into Northern Ireland law of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), with direct access to the courts, and remedies for breach of the Convention”.
- 1.11 In Article 2(1) the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol to the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement, the UK Government committed to ensuring that: No diminution of rights, safeguards or equality of opportunity, as set out in that part of the 1998 Agreement entitled Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity results from its withdrawal from the Union, including in the area of protection against discrimination.
- 1.12 The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (the Commissions) advise that the proposed amendments undermine the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement commitment to ensure incorporation of the ECHR, including access to courts and remedies for breach of the ECHR rights.
- 1.13 The Commissions are further concerned that the proposed amendments risk diminishing the commitment in Article 2(1) of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol to ensure there is no diminution of rights, safeguards or equality of opportunity as the UK leaves the EU.
- 1.14 The Commissions note that the proposed Government amendments dis-apply the scope of the ECHR in relation to this Bill and thus are regressive measures which risk diminishing their mandate as the dedicated mechanism to oversee Government’s implementation of its commitment, as legislated for in Schedule 3 of the EU ((Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020.