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Human Rights Chief Appears immune to criticism

14 April, 2004

Responding to a speech given by the head of the Human Rights Commission today at the UN in Geneva, Sinn Féin spokesperson on the issue Caitriona Ruane said that Brice Dickson 'appeared to be immune to the widespread criticism of his performance and the demand for him to be replaced'.

Ms Ruane said:

"There is a litany of major problems surrounding the Human Rights Commission, its lack of independence, unbalanced representation and questionable approach to issues such as the Bill of Rights to date. As constituted the Commission does not command public confidence. Brice Dickson is well aware of this.

"Sinn Féin along with other groups interested in the creation of a rights based society have called for Brice Dickson to resign from his position as a first stage in public confidence in the body being restored.

" Given Professor Dickson's performance at the UN this afternoon it seems that he is completely immune to the very serious concerns which have been raised about his performance as Chief Commissioner.

" The Human Rights Commission is broken and needs fixed. Sinn Féin will continue to raise this issue with the two governments in the time ahead as part of our efforts to see the demands of the Good Friday Agreement regarding the Human Rights Commission delivered." ENDS

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