Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Adams warns on Human Rights Commission

23 July, 2003


Two weeks ago Mr Patrick Yu resigned from the Human Rights Commission (HRC). He was the third Commissioner to do so on the basis of deeply held serious concerns about the effectiveness of the HRC established under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Following on from this Sinn Féin requested a meeting with both governments to raise this and a number of other serious concerns about the HRC.

Following recent events, including today's interview in the Irish News with the Chief Commissioner Brice Dickson, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams warned that 'the Commission‚' ability to uphold and protect human rights is seriously in doubt. Only last week a Westminster Joint Committee on Human Rights also identified serious problems with the Commission. If public confidence is to be restored the British government needs to act now.

The Sinn Fein President continued:

"The highly disturbing revelations around the actions of the Chief Commissioner Brice Dickson and several other Commissioners, regarding the blockade of children attending Holy Cross primary school and the policing of that situation by the PSNI, have further dented political and public confidence in the Commission‚s ability to uphold and protect human rights.

"The Chief Commissioner‚s public explanations in the media today about this matter are unconvincing and unsatisfactory.

"Sinn Féin has consistently raised concerns around the Commission, including its powers and resources, the representativeness of Commissioners and the appointment process itself. Last week the Westminster Joint Committee on Human Rights reached many of the same conclusions and recommended amending legislation to place a duty on the Commission to act with independence and impartiality.

"This is crucial in order to repair the damage to the Commission and to make it an effective guardian of human rights. Prompt action from the British government is essential to repair the damage to the Commission and to make it an effective guardian of human rights.

"It is also crucial that the Commission itself seriously reflects on the growing fears being expressed by former commissioners and other human rights experts that its approach on equality and parity of esteem have a potential to undermine the Good Friday Agreement itself". ENDS.

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