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Statement by the Tánaiste on a Charter of Rights for the island of Ireland

Northern Ireland Peace Process, Press Releases, Northern Ireland, 2011

I welcome the publication today of the advice on a Charter of Rights for the island of Ireland prepared by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Irish Human Rights Commission.

The Joint Committee of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Irish Human Rights Commission (the Joint Committee) was mandated by the Good Friday Agreement 1998 to “consider, among others matters, 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.”

The advice of the Joint Committee should now be given serious consideration by all the political parties on the island of Ireland and will be important in bringing the process of developing a Charter of Rights forwards.

I want to thank the Joint Committee for their valuable work on foot of this mandate and commend them for their commitment to furthering progress towards a Charter of Rights for the island of Ireland.

Note for editors:
Charter of Rights for the island of Ireland:
The Good Friday Agreement states:
‘It is envisaged that there would be a joint committee of representatives of the two Human Rights Commissions, North and South, as a forum for consideration of human rights issues in the island of Ireland. The joint committee will consider, among other matters, 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.’

The Joint Committee will today provide their advice on the possibility of establishing a Charter of Rights for the island of Ireland.  The advice sets out the origins of a Charter as established by relevant political agreements.  It also sets out the existing human rights provisions on the island of Ireland and details the legal foundation for creating a Charter that would maintain a level of protection for fundamental rights on a cross-jurisdictional basis.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory body first proposed in the Good Friday Agreement and established in 1999 by the Northern Ireland Act (1998).

The Irish Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory body pursuant to the Good Friday Agreement and established in 2001 under the Human Rights Commission Act 2000.