“I recognise that there is a diverse range of opinion..”

As noted yesterday, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission today presented its advice to government on a Northern Ireland Bill of Rights. Although, as they implicitly admit, in advising on the possible content of a Bill of Rights, they might have gone beyond their actual remit “to advise on the scope for defining, in Westminster legislation, rights supplementary to those in the ECHR, to reflect the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland.” [added emphasis]. Still they have been at it since 1 March 2000.. ANYhoo NI Secretary of State Shaun Woodward, MP, welcomed received “statutory advice from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission on the potential for a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland.” And that statutory advice is available here. [pdf file]And Shaun Woodward’s quote used in the post title,

“I recognise that there is a diverse range of opinion on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. Once Government has had an opportunity to properly consider the advice we will consult publicly on this issue before deciding how to move forward.”

As Mark Devenport notes, there’s already a diverse range of opinion within the Commission..

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  • Pete, as I note on Belfast and Beyond, there’s definitely work to be done in building political support for a Bill of Rights, but some of the arguments against just don’t stack up or, at least, I don’t find them too convincing.

    And let’s not forget that all the polls (links in my blog) to date have shown strong support – across both main communities – for the Bill.

    So bring on the public consultation and let’s hear what the people, not just the politicians and pundits, think.

  • Jimmy Sands

    It’s very simple. There is a comprehensive Human Rights Code in the ECHR, which has the additional benefit of being effectively entrenched, as a Bill of Rights would not be. I’ve not heard of a convincing argument as to the existence of any gap in that code which would not either be unworkable of a coat trailers’ charter.

  • George


    Posting a comment with two references to your own blog is, to say the least, a breach of blog etiquette.


  • the pope

    What a pity the Catholic church doesn’t have a bill of rights, covering condoms, the pill, abortion divorce, homosexuality etc.

    wait – from memory they WERE rights in Northern Ireland in the 70s when the “civil rights” protests started. not in the south though.

    beware wishing for rights you fought against 30 years ago.

  • George, fair comment although I was always taught to link rather than reprint or repeat…

  • edward

    its amazing the sad trolling on here, and thats from an admitted troll

  • eranu

    the simple reality is, in the western world we have all the rights we really need. when the glass is full you stop pouring. all this NI bill of rights stuff is from people in the rights industry trying to justify their jobs by trying to make it seem that there is a need to keep creating rights to make society/peoples lives better. to me its just playing on human emotional responses where people have been successfully marketed the idea that they need more and more rights to have a happy life. gotta keep up with the jones’s…
    all NI rights will do is remove the best way to solve problems which is agreement between 2 parties, and replace that with a legal way to force the other party to do what you want. thereby creating winners and losers and pissing everyone off.

  • Newman


    Can you tell us what rights we are presently missing…for the life of me I cannot think of any unless we move into areas which are matters of intense dispute and not ones that everyone instinctively accepts.

  • A bill of rights for the whole UK should adequately cover anything arising in any part of the UK. If it isn’t, to quote someone else on being VPOTUSA, it wouldn’t be worth a spitoon of cold spit. Otherwise, where do you end? A BOR for Fermanagh and South Tyrone?

  • Newman

    Ah…so we are back to abortion again…got it.