‘Government Leaves Human Rights Commission in Limbo’

Alliance Party Leader, David Ford, has slammed the NIO for failing to appoint a new Chief Commissioner and other Commissioners to the NI Human Rights Commission, and leaving the body in limbo.

David Ford stated:

“On 28 February, 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.

“As Commissioners resigned over the past few years, the Government dragged its feet over naming replacements. Furthermore, it was originally the intention of the Government to have the full new Commission in place in shadow form at the end of September 2004.

“None of this has happened. Instead, the process of naming a new Chief Commissioner and other commissioners has been overly drawn out.

“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.

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

“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.”

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