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British continue to snub human rights in North

10 December, 2004

On the occasion of International Human Rights Day Sinn Féin's spokesperson on Equality, Human Rights and Women, South Down MLA Caítriona Ruane has called on the British government to "stop paying lip service to the range of international human rights treaties it has signed and instead to act on its commitments, including those contained in the Good Friday Agreement."

Ms Ruane said:

"International Human Rights Day was intended to serve as a reminder to states worldwide that they have a primary duty to protect the fundamental rights and entitlements of their citizens and to comply with the international human rights standards and treaties they have endorsed.

"The British government has been the primary abuser of human rights in the North. It should therefore take stock of its abysmal failure to protect the rights of not only the poorest and most vulnerable in our society but of those who came here seeking asylum or jobs only to find themselves detained in prisons or subjected to growing racism and intolerance.

"The commitments to equality and human rights contained in the Good Friday Agreement, which the British government signed up to, are being ignored across a range of issues which we have raised in all negotiations. Its non-compliance is giving cover to others in our society who wrongly believe that human rights abuses are 'acceptable'.

"In addition the range of anti-equality and human rights policies that are rolling out from central government on a weekly basis will have a far-reaching and detrimental social and economic impact on the most vulnerable. The latest budget priorities document and water charges are just two examples of this.

"The British government's track record regarding human rights in the North is disgraceful. Post Good Friday Agreement it is clear that it continues to flaunt a raft of international human rights obligations with little regard for the implications this will have in trying to develop a society that respects human rights." ENDS

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