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Voting procedures raised with Human Rights Commission

19 March, 2004

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Equality and Human Rights, South Down MLA Caítríona Ruane held a meeting this morning with the Human Rights Commission to raise a series of concerns around new electoral registration procedures.

Caitriona Ruane said:

"Sinn Féin met with the Human Rights Commission today to discuss major concerns regarding the introduction of legislation in May 2002 which has clearly interfered with citizens rights to freely participate in elections.

"Some 211,000 voters, representing 16.5% of the overall electorate who were entitled to vote did not and we believe that the new registration requirements acted as a major deterrent to potential voters.

"We have asked the Human Rights Commission, which has been publicly quiet on these matters to date, to actively pursue this matter in order to establish the extent to which the new registration requirements are in breach of human rights standards and the right to vote.

"We also asked the Commission to initiate a civic awareness raising campaign to encourage people to exercise their voting rights." ENDS

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