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Momentum grows for Bill of Rights round table

10 November, 2004


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Equality, Human Rights and Women, South Down MLA Caítriona Ruane has welcomed the positive contribution on the Bill of Rights debate from Alvaro Gil-Robies, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights who met with Sinn Féin and members of the Human Rights Consortium in Belfast.

The Ms Ruane said:

"Evidently the Commissioner was well informed regarding the impasse we have had for some time in progressing the Bill of Rights debate because of the range of difficulties which has beset the Human Rights Commission itself coupled with the current political deadlock which has impeded progress across a range of issues including the development of a Bill of Rights.

"Sinn Féin welcomed the Commissioner's willingness to listen to the many voices from across the community who, despite differences, are united in wanting to have the strongest possible Bill of Rights that will incorporate a range of socio-economic rights at its heart.

"Most significantly the Commissioner confirmed that he had met with British Secretary of State Paul Murphy and had raised the need for the Roundtable Forum on the Bill of Rights, contained in the Joint Declaration, to commence.

"Sinn Féin has lobbied for this mechanism to be established as a matter of some urgency in order to inject new momentum into the Bill of Rights debate.

" The process of dialogue, engagement and participation by civic society in conjunction with its political representatives is as important a process as producing a Bill of Rights. We believe this message has been positively received by the Council of Europe representative and we would urge the British government to discharge its intent to establish the Roundtable Forum without any further delay." ENDS

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