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Sinn Féin to raise Human Rights Concerns and Peter McBride case with Spellar

2 October, 2003

A Sinn Féin delegation led by the party's Equality and Human Rights spokesperson Bairbre de Brún will be meeting with NIO minister John Spellar today to raise concerns surrounding the Human Rights Commission and the case of Peter McBride.

Ms de Brún said:

"The meeting is part of a series of private and public meetings we have held with both the British and Irish governments around serious difficulties regarding the Human Rights Commission.

"What is required is an independent, effective Human Rights Commission to promote and protect the human rights of all. To achieve this we have supported the Human Rights Commission on many issues, including consistently raising the need for additional powers and resources for the Commission including during the current political discussions.

"However over a period of time it is with regret that we have concluded that due to ongoing internal and external impediments, the Human Rights Commission has not measured up to the task it was set by the Good Friday Agreement. It has consequently lost credibility and public confidence.

"We sought today's meeting to discuss with the British government our concerns and the way ahead. We need to look at a restructuring that will include the composition and appointments, the powers and resources of the Commission.

"The composition of the Commission is a central part of this. An Independent Selection Panel should be established to oversee that process and further appointments to the Commission should be made after this has happened.

"We approach all these issues on the basis of wanting the best possible Human Rights Commission in place to drive forward the human rights aspects of the Good Friday Agreement.

"The delegation will also raise the issue of the Peter McBride case and urge the British government to dismiss the two British Army soldiers responsible for his murder." ENDS.

Note to Editors

The Sinn Féin delegation will consist of Bairbre de Brún, Cathy Staunton, North Belfast Sinn Féin and Belfast City Councillor, Chrissie McAuley. The meeting will be held in Castle Buildings at 2pm

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