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Stormont venue for major discussion on All Ireland 'Rights for All' Charter

2 September, 2004

Sinn Fein Human Rights and Equality Spokesperson, South Down MLA Caitríona Ruane has said that the meeting of over 50 activists from the ethnic minority community, gay and lesbian community, disability community and community and voluntary sectors in Stormont today to discuss Sinn Fein consultation document, the All Ireland 'Rights for All' Charter is evidence that there is widespread support for increasing the debate about creating a society where human rights are enshrined.

Speaking ahead of the meeting Ms Ruane said:

"Six years after the Good Friday Agreement was signed and overwhelming endorsed by the people of this island we have not seen the progress it promised. Instead of full implementation of the Agreement in all its aspects, we have seen delay, foot dragging and inaction where the British government has direct responsibility. This is rooted in the British government's tactical approach to the Agreement.

"We have not seen the British government embrace political, economic, social, and cultural rights. If we are to see progress in the talks this month then the British government must challenge and reconsider its own approach to the Agreement.

"This demands action to challenge systematic and institutionalised discrimination against any section of people living on the island of Ireland. Governments have a duty to ensure that all people have equality of opportunity and equality of access and a duty to take proactive steps and affirmative actions to ensure social and economic equality.

"Both governments, but particularly the British government, have failed to deliver equality and eradicate discrimination in the 6 counties. They have failed to deliver for those marginalized and excluded. A charter of rights must guarantee, promote and protects the 'Rights for All'. Sinn Féin is also aware that we have a responsibility to build an inclusive society, which addresses the political allegiances of unionists and guarantees their rights and entitlements so that they can have a sense of security and a stake within an Ireland of Equals." ENDS

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