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Read the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of the United Kingdom.

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NIHRC Submission to the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of the United Kingdom

Last Updated: Friday, 1 April 2022

Date produced March 2022.

Below is a summary of the recommendations.

You can also download the full document through the links provided.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) recommends:

8. The NIHRC recommends the UK Government provide adequate and secure funding to enable it to fulfil its statutory functions.

10. The NIHRC opposes any reduction in the current legal protections of human rights in the UK.

11.
The NIHRC recommends the UK Government implements its commitment to legislate for a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland.

13. The NIHRC recommends the UK Government, when making changes to retained European Union law impacting human rights or equality, should progress changes by primary legislation, rather than secondary legislation or other ‘accelerated process’ and an assessment for compliance with Protocol Article 2 is undertaken.

15. The NIHRC recommends the UK ratify the outstanding UN Treaties (ICRMW, ICPPED, OP-ICCPR, OP-ICESCR and OP-CRC-COM) and issue the required declarations under Article 22, CAT and Article 14, CERD.

16.
The NIHRC recommends that the UK commit to raising awareness of the availability of the right of individual petition for nationals under OP-CEDAW and OP-CRPD.

18. The NIHRC recommends that current equality provisions be simplified, enhanced and consolidated into a single equality act.

21. The NIHRC recommends that the UK Government does not impose a statute of limitations restricting the investigation and prosecution of alleged unlawful killings and serious injuries.

24. The NIHRC recommends the UK Government conducts effective investigations into deaths during the conflict in NI. In particular, that an Article 2 European Convention on Human Rights compliant inquiry is conducted into the death of Patrick Finucane.

26. The NIHRC recommends the Northern Ireland Executive introduces legislation to repeal the defence of reasonable chastisement of a child.

28. The NIHRC recommends the UK Government repeals all legal provisions permitting the marriage of children in Northern Ireland and increase the minimum age for marriage to 18 years.

30. The NIHRC recommends the UK Government introduce legislation to reverse the burden of proof from the prosecution to the purchaser of sexual services.

32. The NIHRC recommends the UK Government take action to determine the steps needed to protect children and monitor the effectiveness of these measures.

34. In line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child Committee’s General Comment No 24, the NIHRC recommends the UK Government introduce legislation to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 14 years old.

36. The NIHRC recommends legislation enshrining the principle that detention for a child is a measure of last resort.

38. The NIHRC recommends that long-term, secure funding for shared education is guaranteed in NI and that the UK Government ensures any negative impact on funding due to European Union withdrawal will be mitigated.

39. The NIHRC is concerned at the persistence of conversion therapy, as defined by the United Nations Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

40.
The NIHRC recommends that the UK Government introduces legislation to ban all practices of conversion therapy.

43. The NIHRC recommends the UK Government conduct and publish a review of the exercise of arrest powers under section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

45. The NIHRC recommends the UK Government review the test for a miscarriage of justice, ensuring compatibility with Article 14(6) ICCPR.

47. The NIHRC recommends the UK Government use a human rights based approach to develop the strategies, with specific reference to the UN framework.

49. The NIHRC recommends that the UK Government ratify the Istanbul Convention on combatting domestic violence.

52. The Human Rights Council may wish to ask the UK Government how it will ensure the rights of trafficking victims in NI are not weakened through the Nationality and Borders Bill.

56. The NIHRC recommends that the Secretary of State take the required legislative action to ensure the CEDAW recommendations on accessing safe abortion services locally are implemented without further delay.

59. The NIHRC recommends the UK Government take steps to implement the CEDAW Committee’s recommendations on sexual and reproductive education.

61. The NIHRC recommends the UK Government fully implement the recommendations of the Independent Hate Crime Review.

63. The NIHRC recommends the UK Government ensure that all past victims of discrimination receive a full remedy.

65. The NIHRC recommends the Anti-Poverty Strategy is introduced without further delay.

67. The NIHRC recommends that a comprehensive strategy tackling child poverty is developed without further delay.

69. The NIHRC recommends the UK Government implement proposals in NI which fully address the specific issues raised in Gaughran v UK.

71. The NIHRC recommends the Rehabilitation of Offenders (NI) Order 1978 be amended to introduce a system for review of criminal records.

74. The NIHRC recommends the UK Government incorporate human rights standards into proposals on immigration and asylum.

75.
The Council may wish to ask the UK Government how it will ensure there will be no increase in racial profiling on the island of Ireland resulting from ETAs.

77. The NIHRC recommends the Mental Capacity Act is commenced in full and legislative protections are introduced for under 16-year-olds in Northern Ireland.

79. The NIHRC continues to recommend that a robust disability strategy for Northern Ireland is promptly published and accompanied by a measurable action plan, modelled upon the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

82. The NIHRC recommends the UK Government Inquiry considers and addresses how decisions were made during the pandemic.


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