Alliance demands Government statement on NIHRC

Alliance Party Leader, David Ford, has called upon the Government to make an urgent statement regarding appointments to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

On 28 February 2005, the terms of office of the Chief Commissioner and other Commissioners expired. At present, there are only two commissioners in post, Lady Christine Eames and Kevin McLaughlin. The Commission is currently operating on a care and maintenance basis. The Government originally announced that it intended to make appointments in September 2004.

David Ford stated:

“The Human Rights Commission is one of the key institutions established under the Agreement. It has many crucial functions to perform.

“It is now over three months since the vast majority of commissioners, including the Chief Commissioner, were due to leave office.

“The manner in which it is being left in limbo is symptomatic of the low priority given to human rights by the Government. It is inconceivable that

the Government would leave the NI Policing Board or the Equality Commission in a similar situation.

“It is imperative that the NIO addresses the problem of appointments forthwith, or failing that make a full statement regarding what is the


“The fact that Commissioners would be stepping down at the end of February has been known for at least three years. It simply amazes me that the Government has allowed this situation to develop.”


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