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Human Rights Commission annual report puts British government in the dock

11 November, 2004

Sinn Féin Human Rights, Equality and Women's Spokesperson, South Down MLA Catríona Ruane has said that the fifth annual report from the Human Rights Commission, that was presented to the British parliament today highlights a number of areas where the British government has failed to live up to commitments to advance the Human Rights agenda and emphasises again the need for increased resources and powers for the Commission.

Ms Ruane said:

"This report highlights major failings by British government in living up to its Good Friday Agreement commitments to advance the Human Rights Agenda.

"The British government has failed to deal with issue of collusion. Until the British government accepts its responsibility for collusion and its central role in creating and maintaining the conflict there is little prospect of ensuring that the structures and policy, agents and agencies of collusion will be dismantled and that the human rights abuses of the past will be eliminated.

"It is highly significant that the British governments have yet to move to reform the inquest system. The continuing frustration of efforts to get at the truth behind controversial killings involving state agencies by the PSNI blocking full disclosure of information surrounding these events indicates that the culture of lies, deceit and cover-up by the state over human rights abuses will continue.

"The report emphasises again the need for increased resources and a broadening of the range of powers available to the human rights commission to create a fully effective commission that is capable of expediting the human rights agenda.

"It is also a matter of concern that we have not seen either progress on developing the roundtable on the Bill of Rights that is urgently required or the application of international human rights standards such as the Paris Principles that should govern the operation and powers of the Human Rights Commission." ENDS

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