Alliance Explores Controversies with Human Rights Commission

An Alliance delegation today met with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission to discuss the recent attacks on it by nationalist parties and certain academics.

Alliance is following up these discussions with a meeting tomorrow with John Spellar, the Minister with responsibility for human rights.

Speaking after the meeting, Alliance Party Justice and Human Rights Spokesperson, Stephen Farry said the party took the opportunity to explore in some detail the issues under public debate.

Dr Farry stated:

“Alliance is deeply concerned at the attempts being made by certain political parties and individuals to undermine the Human Rights Commission, and to frustrate its work.

“We are satisfied that the Commission is operating in an independent and professional manner, consistent with the Agreement. Some problems, such as the procedures in relation to decision-making around the Holy Cross issue, have already been addressed.

“On the Bill of Rights, it is important to note that no formal decisions have been taken on the way forward. Alliance believes that the current thinking of the Commission is broadly consistent with the emerging diversity that is the reality on the ground.

“It is important that the Commission is allowed to move on, and is able to concentrate on fulfilling its mandate of developing a culture of human rights, and advising on the scope of a Bill of Rights.

“We will impressing upon Government the need to recognise that the Commission is fulfilling its mandate, and to protect its ability to operate independently of political interference.”

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