Rights

On this page, you will find all the work we are doing on rights in Northern Ireland. Broadly, this covers those rights guaranteed by the Good Friday Agreement; those guaranteed by the Common Travel Area arrangements and related arrangements; those guaranteed by EU membership for those with an EU nationality; and those guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights.

Evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights: Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020

PI team members Sylvia de Mars, Colin Murray, Aoife O’Donoghue and Ben Warwick have submitted evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights with regard to the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020.

This submission focuses on Clause 2 of the bill, which relates to Irish citizens. In particular, it is highlighted that the omission within the Explanatory Notes of all reference to the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement (GFA) is concerning.

REPORT: ‘Continuing EU Citizenship “Rights, Opportunities and Benefits” in Northern Ireland after Brexit’

Four of PI’s team members – Colin Murray, Sylvia de Mars, Aoife O’Donoghue and Ben Warwick – have prepared one of two reports for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, examining challenges to citizenship rights in the context of Brexit.

Brexit therefore creates the potential for new and more extreme gaps in the rights and protections available to different groups of people living within Northern Ireland.

This report highlights a number of pre-existing complexities with regard to citizenship laws in Northern Ireland and examines the specific challenges these give rise to in the context of Brexit. A number of recommendations are made as to how these can be addressed.

The full report is available to download here: https://www.nihrc.org/publication/detail/continuing-eu-citizenship-rights-opportunities-and-benefits-in-northern-ireland-after-brexit

ICON Conference

The research team attended and presented at the ICON Society (UK and Ireland) conference hosted by the University of Strathclyde. The papers presented were titled:

de Mars, ‘Making it (Even) More Complex: Plucking Trade from its Nest’

Murray, ‘Futureland: Northern Ireland after Brexit’

O’Donoghue, ‘Life after Brexit: Referenda, International Law and Unifying Ireland?’

Warwick, ‘Disappearing Rights under the Draft EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement’

They will find their way into written and published form shortly!

Briefing Document: Human Rights reform and Northern Ireland.

Discussion of the repeal of the UK Human Rights Act has intensified following the election. The Act is a complex instrument, and there would be significant implications flowing from its repeal.

Northern Ireland has a particularly important relationship with the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The Good Friday Agreement (a key part of the Northern Irish peace process) enshrined a fundamental role for the ECHR in moderating the values of plurality and equality in the ‘new’ Northern Ireland.

Unpicking the terms of the Good Friday Agreement is unwise. Human rights protections were not an ‘add on’ to the peace processes but were a central feature of the reconciliation.

Beyond the effects upon the people of Northern Ireland, there are potential implications for the UK’s relationship with Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement is (at least in part) a contract between the British and Irish states. The interests of the Republic of Ireland in human rights protections in Northern Ireland should also be respected.

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Discussion Paper on Brexit.

This report examines the impact of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union (Brexit) upon human rights and equality issues. Brexit will significantly re-orientate both Northern Ireland’s (NI’s) established human rights structures and the inter-connected human rights’ infrastructure and relationships across Ireland and the UK.

It was written by Colin Murray, Aoife O’Donoghue and Ben Warwick for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. Mr Colin Murray is a Senior Lecturer at Newcastle Law School, Newcastle University, Professor Aoife O’Donoghue is a Professor at Durham Law School, Durham University, and Dr Ben Warwick is a Lecturer at Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham.

The views expressed within this paper do not necessarily represent the views of the Commissions, nor the employers of the authors.

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