Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Bill of Rights will protect the most vulnerable

31 March, 2008

Sinn Féin Human Rights and Equality Spokesperson, Foyle MLA Martina Anderson has welcomed the publication of the Forum Report on the Bill of Rights as the next step in the process of delivering a Bill of Rights.

Ms Anderson said:

"A Bill of Rights will provide a simplified Rights framework that will provide protections for the most vulnerable in our society. A comprehensive and inclusive Bill of Rights will benefit not only citizens and groups but the structures of governance itself.

"In other countries a Bills of Rights has actively assisted governments in taking decisions that shape policies and spending in order to take measurable and progressive steps to produce change in the quality of life for everyone.

"In the context of a society moving away from conflict a Bill of Rights must offer an inclusive framework for governance based on the realisation of the rights of all.

"The Bill of Rights is necessary to protect the most vulnerable in our society. It provides protections for groups in our society that have been most marginalised. The rights of the disabled, elderly, children, women, ethnic minorities, economically disadvantaged, among others, will be safeguarded by a strong inclusive Bill of Rights. It will give redress to those who have suffered at the hands of a public authority. This will include rights on housing, employment and accessing public services.

"The rights contained in the Report are consolidated from various Human Rights documents to which both the Irish and British Government have signed up to, and add supplementary rights, particular to the circumstances in the North of Ireland, in line with the Good Friday Agreement.

"The Bill of Rights must also address the conditions that existed in the North of Ireland that led to the conflict. The inequalities in our society must be addressed. Equality and rights for all must be the result of the implementation of a Bill of Rights.

"The Human Rights Commission must now consult widely. We want to see a Bill of Rights fully implemented as part of the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement." ENDS

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