Alliance Party Leader, David Ford, has paid tribute to the work of the outgoing head of the NI Human Rights Commission, and endorsed and extended much of his criticisms of the British Government.
David Ford stated:
“It is important to recognise the positive contribution and leadership that Brice Dickson, and a number of other members of the Human Rights Commission have made to developing a culture of human rights within Northern Ireland. He and his colleagues have laid the foundations for a Bill of Rights, based on international standards and capable of reflecting the needs of a diverse and evolving society.
“They have had to combat a lack of support and interest from the British Government, and hysterical and irrational attacks from both Unionists and Nationalists alike.
“Indeed, I would extend his criticisms to the Irish Government too. Former Foreign Minister Brian Cowan on occasions intervened to reinforce some of the critics. While Mr Cowan met with some of those who resigned from the Commission, he failed to ever meet with the Commission itself, despite numerous requests to do so.
“While lip-service is paid to the notion of human rights on all sides, the controversies surrounding the Commission only illustrate the deep divisions over the details and their implications for change.
“It is important that the new Commission, when it is announced shortly, is given a fair wind.”