An e-debate on a Charter of Rights?

Discussion about the restoration of democratic institutions in Northern Ireland continues to rage around issues of demilitarisation, policing, security and accountability – all part of the current review of the Belfast Agreement.But that Agreement also commits to looking at “the possibility of establishing a charter, open to signature by all democratic political parties, reflecting and endorsing agreed measures for the protection of the fundamental rights of everyone living in the island of Ireland”.

Until now there has been little progress. To help open up some of those possibilities, British Council Ireland together with University College Cork and University of Leeds are co-hosting a seminar and on-line debate to explore key issues surrounding the institution of an island wide charter of rights.

The e-debate will be structured around an introduction and four short thought pieces by Doctor Colin Harvey of Leeds University that ask a series of questions on the practicalities and possibilities of such a charter.

These include:

§ What is understood by Human Rights as laid out in the Belfast Agreement?

§ What, if any, powers should a Charter of Rights contain?

§ How might a charter address issues such as racism and the treatment of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants?

§ And what lessons can we learn from other parts of the world?

Moderator Mick Fealty will provide a series of summaries of discussions and provide links to news items and relevant papers, which along with a summary of the real time seminar will be compiled into a final report.

The event takes place here at the Slugger, commencing at 9am on the 29th and will remain active until 5pm (GMT) on Friday 9th October 2004.

Come add your voice to what we hope will be a lively debate. Or simply hit the British Council logo above.

All are welcome – from inside Ireland or elsewhere. So tell your colleagues. Link us from your website. And help make this a truly ‘global’ discussion.