I have just received the blurb from the NIHRC about their annual conference (pdf file). Yet again it inspires the usual lack of confidence. The list of speakers are the usual suspects as the NIHRC continues with its policy of “create a human rights culture by continually talking amongst ourselves”. Is anyone expecting to hear anything different from a former British-Irish Rights Watch worker, Amnesty International, the standard local academics e.g. Neil Jarman, Declan O’Hare etc etc?In the first session “Building a human rights and equality culture” only NI and RoI public bodies are invited, apparently no public body on the mainland has anything to contribute. It’s always best to place the ideas of human rights and equality in an All-Ireland context, its the best way to see them as having no political agenda and encourage broad support. Also having two Commissioners with close ties to the Women’s Coalition isn’t enough, their old political pal from the Coalition (and long before that) Avila Kilmurray has been invited to contribute to that session too.
When it comes to discussing the wider cultural context for human rights it seems only nationalist journalist/commentators, Fionnuala O’Connor and Susan McKay, have anything to offer the debate. Also, in the workshop about human rights and faith communities it seems only Christians with ecumenical views can speak on it.
One must ask why is DUP councillor Jonathon Bell lending his name to this whole charade? The “fighting the good fight” from within doesn’t seem to be going well so far.
P.S. There is of course one outstanding session, Blogging human rights, by the innovative and outstanding, Mick Fealty. 😉