“That is where the danger lies.”

A NI Bill of Rights is still lost in the long grass, but in the Irish Times David Adams returns to the subject. It’s in response to the riposte from still Chief Commissioner Monica McWilliams, noted by Brian previously, who was partly responsible for the NI Human Rights Commission’s statutory advice. This time David Adams is quoting former Chief Commissioner Brice Dickson’s evidence to the UK Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights. [Can we declare this a fiasco now? – Ed]. From the Irish Times.

The NIHRC’s some 80 proposals cover social, economic, political and environmental issues that are properly the preserve of democratically elected politicians. That is where the danger lies. Commenting on the proposals, Dickson said a bill of rights “should not attempt to cover matters which are better left to political debate and compromise”. “Giving too much power to unelected judges is an intensely undemocratic and potentially unwise thing to do.” If the NIHRC has its way, numerous governance issues will become the preserve of the judiciary. How can a proposed diminution in democratic accountability be squared with an agreement whose very object was to put governance into the hands of locally elected representatives?

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