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British government must act on equality and human rights commitments

8 August, 2003

Sinn Féin Equality and Human Rights Spokesperson, Bairbre de Brún speaking after meeting British Minster John Spellar has said that the British government must act on equality and human rights‚ commitments in the Good Friday Agreement.

Ms de Brún said:

"Sinn Féin requested this meeting to discuss how the provisions of the two governments‚ Joint Declaration will deliver the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, particularly dealing with the Equality and Human Rights elements of the Agreement and with the core mechanisms established to advance and protect these.

"The British government must take decisive action to ensure that public confidence in the Human Rights Commission, as a key mechanism arising from the Good Friday Agreement is restored. Those most in need of rights expect and deserve to have a Human Rights Commission that will stridently champion their rights in an independent and effective manner. We need to look at a restructuring that will include the composition and appointments, the powers and resources of the Commission. The Human Rights Commission is broken. It needs fixed.

"The Equality agenda must not be slowed down or frustrated. The British government must send out the signal that discrimination will not be tolerated and will be tackled vigorously.

"There must be economic development and investment in areas of greatest need allowing communities, whether nationalist or unionist, to receive help commensurate with the level of need they experience. This will assure everyone that decisions will be taken on the basis of objective need." ENDS

Note to Editors: The Sinn Féin delegation led by Bairbre de Brún included West Belfast councillor Chrissie McAuley and Upper Bann representative Dr Dara O‚Hagan.

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