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Explanation demanded over British refusal to allow Human Rights Commission access to juvenile detention centre

8 July, 2004

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Human Rights Issues Caitriona Ruane has demanded that Paul Murphy give an explanation for his refusal to allow the Human Rights Commission access to the juvenile detention centre at Rathgael.

Ms Ruane said:

"In March 2002 the Human Rights Commission produced a report on conditions under which young people were being held by the juvenile justice system in the six counties. It made a total of 170 recommendations aimed at transforming what is a deeply flawed and outdated system.

"Since then however the NIO have repeatedly refused to allow the Human Rights Commission access to Rathgael to monitor progress in implementing the recommendations.

"This is a very serious situation. What are the NIO attempting to hide? Why is the Commission being denied what would seem straightforward access to a facility which has in the past come under major criticism for its practices.

"Many people will find it bizarre that Paul Murphy has allowed this situation to develop to the point where the Human Rights Commission has been forced to take legal action to carry out its duties in the face of opposition from Mr Murphy's department. It is time for Paul Murphy to give the public an explanation for his actions in allowing this situation to develop." ENDS

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