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Sinn Féin commends Amnesty EU Presidency Campaign

12 January, 2004

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on International Affairs Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has commended Amnesty International for their "Human Rights Begins at Home" campaign launched earlier today, and welcomed its practical recommendations to use Ireland's EU Presidency in the promotion of human rights. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"Human rights is not just an empty slogan. Yet for all the EU's commitment to human rights on paper, 13 of 15 current member states including this state are still human rights offenders, as are a similar proportion of accession states, according to Amnesty International. This is not acceptable. There must be a concerted effort to change this situation, to ensure that full human rights are achieved both in Ireland and in the EU as a whole. Amnesty has tabled a programme for change, and they are to be commended for this. Sinn Féin agrees that Ireland's EU Presidency should be used to spearhead such an effort. That is why Sinn Féin has called for the Irish Presidency to initiate a mechanism for human rights proofing of all EU law and policy, both internal and external.

"In addition, I particularly welcome Amnesty Director Seán Love's suggestion this morning that the Patten Policing Reforms should be adopted not only here in Ireland, but throughout the EU. Amnesty's recognition of Patten as a generally applicable positive model adds weight to Sinn Féin's proposals for police reform in this state, which include the establishment of a fully independent Garda Ombudsman, fully independent civilian Policing Board, and district-level Community Policing Partnerships on the Patten model. We believe that these reforms are necessary to achieve effective and accountable policing in this state, and we urge the Minister to adopt these proposals when he revises the heads of his Garda Síochána Bill. The fact that public consensus is growing on this issue is very encouraging." ENDS

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