Our book Bordering Two Unions: Northern Ireland and Brexit is now available. It includes discussions of the Irish border, trade, citizenship, justice and rights and constitutional change.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
Speculation is rife as to the impact of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement upon the Conservative Government’s plans to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998. In the face of this speculation, the UK’s Conservative Government has provided little detail as to how UK human-rights reform will address the requirement for incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights in the Northern Ireland settlement. We therefore analyse the Agreement as both an international treaty and peace agreement and evaluate its interrelationship with the Human Rights Act and the Northern Ireland Act. Once the hyperbole surrounding the Agreement and its attendant domestic legislation is stripped away, the effects of the 1998 settlement are in some regards more extensive than has to date been recognised, but in other respects are less far-reaching than some of the Human Rights Act’s supporters claim. The picture that emerges from our analysis is of an intricately woven constitution dependent on devolution arrangements, peace agreements, and international relationships.