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De Brún - Call for implementation of Joint Declaration Equality Commitments

4 June, 2003

Sinn Féin Equality and Human Rights Spokesperson Bairbre de Brún has called on Des Browne to publicly set out how the Rights and Equality commitments in the Good Friday Agreement and the Joint Declaration will be implemented.

Ms de Brún said:

"Rights and entitlements cannot be conditional. Five years on from the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, the commitments from the two governments in the Joint Declaration represent key areas that the British government, in particular, has not yet implemented.

" The two governments have said they will implement the rights and equality agenda. How is this to happen? People now need to hear

· How will the unemployment differential be eliminated? What are the targets? And how will they be monitored?

· When will the bodies subject to the statutory equality duty be extended?

· How can the process for taking forward the Bill of Rights be advanced?

· When will the Foras na Gaeilge funding be restored?

· When will the Irish language film and television production fund be established?

" In the end of the day this is about breaking the cycle of poverty, disadvantage and despair. Therefore, we need to ensure that the focus remains on economic development in areas of greatest need, and on effective mechanisms that can restore momentum to the implementation of the Equality agenda and ensure that equality gained becomes equality sustained.

" We also need to introduce effective measures to tackle sectarianism, and to learn from international best practice with regard to victims and reconciliation.

"I have sought a meeting with Des Browne at the earliest opportunity to clarify how the British government will implement their commitments in the rights and equality field. The Joint Declaration represents the promise of progress on some key areas of the Good Friday Agreement such as policing, justice, human rights, equality, the Irish language and other issues. People now need reassurance that this will become a reality." ENDS

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