Farry pleased at Assembly support for Human Rights Act

Alliance North Down MLA, Stephen Farry, has welcomed the decision of the Assembly to pass an Alliance motion calling on the Government to abandon plans to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights.

Stephen Farry said: “This vote in the Assembly sends out a very powerful message about protecting the integrity of the Human Rights Act. While the UK Government may have paused on their efforts to repeal this Act with a commitment to fresh consultation, there must be no complacency on this matter.

“In Northern Ireland, repeal of the Human Rights Act would have particular implications for the peace process. The need for a Bill of Rights has long been recognised as a core component of any political settlement here, and the Good Friday Agreement makes clear commitments to the European Convention on Human Rights being enforceable through domestic law. Furthermore, human rights considerations are an essential component to community confidence in the new beginning for policing.

“But this is a broader issue that just Northern Ireland. Repeal of the Human Rights Act would be bad for the UK as a whole, and would also send out a very dangerous message across Europe and the wider world. It is important that people can have their Conventions rights protected domestically, and not have to resort directly to the European Court through a more lengthy, expensive and selective process. Contrary to the myths spread by the right-wing press, most cases are not those taken by criminals and terrorists. The UK should be a beacon of hope to the rest of the world in showing the importance of shared, common, high human rights standards, particularly when human rights remain contested or absent in some societies.

“I was disappointed that the Unionist parties would not support this motion. They seemingly continue to adopt a narrow definition of democracy based on majority rule without recognising the importance of human rights, the rule of law and judicial oversight. It is particularly alarming that the UUP now seem to have completely abandoned their commitments to the Good Friday Agreement.”


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