Initial consultation concerning Single Equality bill
The Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement 1998 specifically requires the Human Rights Commission to consider “a clear formulation of the rights not to be discriminated against and to equality of opportunity in both the public and private sectors”. It also makes clear the commitment of all the parties to equality by referring to equal opportunity and equal treatment. Implicit in the commitment to the right to equal opportunity, to freedom from sectarian harassment and to the right to full and equal participation (as specifically enumerated for women in the Agreement) is the duty on the state actively to work towards the abolition of inequality of treatment before and under the law.The Commission will be launching the draft Bill of Rights (in the form of preliminary advice to the Secretary of State) on 4 September 2001 and will be commenting more extensively therein on matters relevant to the issue of equality. An embargoed copy of the consultation document is enclosed: see in particular Chapter 4.
The Commission’s submission at this stage is limited and addresses in general terms some broad principles which it considers should underpin the thrust of the SEB. It does not therefore respond in detail to many of the questions asked in the Consultative Document