Not so diverse on NI Bill of Rights after all, apparently..

According to an Irish Times report, the House of Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has been told of overwhelming and increasing support – 83% “believe it is important” – for a NI Bill of Rights that includes “social and economic rights, such as the right to work, health, an adequate standard of living and accommodation”. The source of this information? A survey commissioned by the NI Human Rights Commission. There’s little other detail of the actual survey itself, I hope it’s not the online one at their website.. [Update I should have said a survey “commissioned by the Human Rights Consortium”. Thanks fd. Details here.] The Commission has already advised the NI Secretary of State and, as Brian said, that Bill’s “lost in the long grass”. The likely next government regards such proposals as “not good for democracy”. Meanwhile, the Belfast Telegraph reports on Lady Trimble’s evidence to the same committee.

Lady Trimble told the committee she would urge any Bill of Rights to be “tightly drawn” as the 80 proposals currently being considered could be divisive. The commission, led by Monica McWilliams, handed over its report to the Government last November despite Lady Trimble and DUP councillor Jonathan Bell refusing to sign up to it.

Lady Trimble said: “I and my fellow dissenter asked for permission for a minority report and that consent was refused. “I felt it was import to stay within the commission. The Bill of Rights is not the only work in the commission, there was a lot of good work I felt I could make a contribution to.”

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  • fair_deal

    It was commissioned by the Human Rights Consortium not the Commission and it is on their website.

    I had a debate with Patrick corrigan about it yesterday and the added the methodology

  • Cynic

    One of the benefits of the tightening of public finances will be to focus attention on some of the quangos that have run away with themselevs.

    We need a focus on Human Rights and we need a body somewhere to consider the issues in a rational and achievable way – but not perhaps this one. Isn’t it interesting too that for a body set up to promote freedom of speech (among other things) that when two members of the Commission dissent, it ‘refuses them permission’ to publish a minority report.

    And why do we have so many different commissions looking after huiman rights, childrens right and equality? And why are so many of them chaired or led or staffed by former politicians?

    Time for some rationalisation I think

  • Babeuf

    We’ve waited 40 years for this, get a move on.

    Repressive legislation and practices remain in place, give us something to fight it with.

    And, are we scared of substantive rights? I bet so, democracy remains the achilles heel of the N.I. State.

  • Cynic

    “Repressive legislation and practices remain in place, give us something to fight it with.”

    Not scared – just realistic.

    And what ‘repressive legislation” are you talking about? Who is repressed?

    And you already have the power to challenge anything that breaches ECHR through the courts. What the Commission wants to do is hugely extend those rights with no sense at all of the implications and costs. At best its a statist approach from those who believe that Government knows best.

    Bottom line is simple. Thers no cross-community support so it wont happen. Get used to that – its called democracy and that’s the system we voted for.

    If you want to fight to change it by all means do so – that’s called politics.

  • fair Deal,

    Is the methodology employed in the survey public?


    “Repressive legislation and practices remain in place, give us something to fight it with”

    The one piece of repressive legislation/practice they could have made a meaningful input on (women’s reproductive rights)they ran away from.

    Safe enough for them to denigrate and attempt to silence the 2 dissenting voices on their own commission, not so brave to take on the powerful interests that continue to deny women that fundamental right.

  • fair Deal,

    Forget my comment, got it now!

  • Framer

    The Commission’s bill is longer than the American and the European Convention on Human Rights and entirely outwith the Agreement remit. It is a non-starter.

  • fair_deal


    Go to the bottom of the HRC press statement and you get two pdf’s one the reuslts of the questions the second a note on the methodlogy

  • loki

    oneill, comment 5. Hear hear!It’s depressing that the politicians and vested interests attempting to deny women the right to control over reproduction are mostly male, middle-aged and have no idea of te anguish women go through in terms of unwanted pregnancies. However, half our polticians wouldn’t be out of place in the Taliban.

  • fair_deal

    “Rights do not have a colour or a religion; nor do they apply to one group of people more than another.”

    Incorrect e.g. group rights concept, minority rights, childrens rights, women’s rights, identified groups in equality clauses.

    “In light of the recent sectarian and racist attacks here, the need for a Bill of Rights which protects everyone and that unites communities is all the more obvious.”

    All existing law fail to act as a deterrent to the perpetrators or protection for the victims why would a new one be any different? See previous comment for “protects everyone” issue.

    Inaccuracy and inanity are not tools of persuasion.

  • Greenflag

    ‘half our polticians wouldn’t be out of place in the Taliban.’

    And the other half could be split between medieval Rome and 17th century Calvinist Geneva 🙁

    But what exactly does this ‘right to work’ mean ? and what exactly is an adequate standard of living and accomodation ?

    Does the latter include a colour TV , internet access and a two week annual Spanish holiday ? Does the accomodation specify a minumum number of sq feet of housing ‘living space ‘ per person ?

    What if there is no work ? Will people be employed as in the former Soviet Union as public weighing machine attendants or as in mid nineteenth century rural Ireland building roads to nowhere ?

  • underwood

    “The one piece of repressive legislation/practice they could have made a meaningful input on (women’s reproductive rights)they ran away from.”

    Well said, oneill. The Womans Coalition ran away from it as well, surprise, surprise.
    So much for the courage and dedication to rights of Ms McWilliams. Disgraceful hypocrisy.

  • eranu

    is ‘women’s reproductive rights’ the right to kill another person before they can be born? i hope not.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    fair deal

    I see you managed to get some notes on the methodology published. You did better than me.

    I tried to get them last month, but despite repeated attempts, neither Patrick Corrigan nor Louise McNicholl of the Human Rights Consortium would release the information to me. Perhaps the importance of the right to adequate information isn’t a major priority?

    Anyway, now I’m back, any comments on the survey and/or methodology?