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'British must honour rights pledge' - Sinn Féin

1 April, 2009 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Sinn Féin Equality and Human Rights Spokesperson Martina Anderson MLA (Foyle) has called on the British Government to honour its commitments to implement a Bill of Rights for the north without delay. 

Speaking after meeting with the Human Rights Commission today (Wednesday), the Foyle MLA said fears were growing that the necessary legislation could be delayed.

Martina Anderson said:

“The Human Rights Commission advice on what the Bill should contain was handed over to the British Secretary of State last December.”  

“It then became the responsibility of the NIO to take the process forward by carrying out the required consultation and tabling the necessary legislation to implement the Bill.

“We share the concerns of the Human Rights Commission that the consultation has been unduly delayed and needs to be published as soon as possible.

“However, there is a relatively short window in which this can happen if the legislation is to be implemented in the next parliamentary year.

“Four months since the advice was handed over, we are still waiting on the consultation to be published and there are growing concerns among human rights organisations – and shared by Sinn Féin - that the NIO is stalling on this issue.

 “That is unacceptable and Sinn Féin will be raising the matter directly with the British government and calling on it to honour its commitments in relation to the Bill of Rights. We will also be calling on the Irish Government to implement its responsibilities under the Good Friday Agreement.

"The Bill of Rights is a fundamental and long overdue part of the Agreement and I believe it represents an incredible opportunity to make a real and positive difference to the lives of all our people.

"The onus is now on the British Government to legislate on the Human Rights Commission's advice and not to allow yesterday's men and women to prevent us securing a shared and better future, for all of our people." ENDS

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