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.

LAUNCH: Interview Quotes and Animations

One of the core elements of the PI project was to compile a database of qualitative data on the themes of Brexit and identity in Northern Ireland. In order to do this, we completed a series of interviews with individuals across Northern Ireland between February 2019 and March 2020.

We have analysed these interviews, and have prepared an academic journal article presenting our findings, to be published in due course. In the interim, we are delighted to be able to share some initial findings with everyone.

A series of quotes have been selected from these interviews – some extremely poignant, others insightful, and all important in their own ways in offering insight to different aspects of identity in Northern Ireland.

These quotes have been voiced by actors and in collaboration with Roots and Wings design collective, we have produced a series of short animated clips. The aim of these is to give an insight to the diversity of perspectives and experiences we encountered.

In our 2-part event later this month, we will delve further into our data in relation to Brexit’s impact. Registration for the first session (where the full PI team will be coming together to present our work) is available here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/performing-identities-brexit-and-northern-ireland-part-1-tickets-156666797609. Details for the second event – a panel discussion focussing on identity in Northern Ireland – will be announced in the coming days.

The full set of clips will be shared over the next few weeks on Twitter, and added to the website. Please follow this link to view the full collection.

We would like to extend our thanks once again to all those who took part in these interviews.

1 – Thoughts on the diversity of perspectives in Northern Ireland that contribute to what ‘identity’ means and how it is understood
2 – “This is who you are” Reflections on how outward expressions of identity and perceptions of others can be shaped by different factors
3 – On how perceptions of others can be shaped by things such as accent, words, and dress (particularly tops from different sports)
4 – “I think a lot of people do it here.” An account of how perceptions of identity can influence the way everyday interactions unfold
5 – How has the women’s movement navigated the challenges of historical division in Northern Ireland?
Reflections on how for members of the LGBTQ+ community, Northern Ireland and its politics can be difficult to navigate

NEW Article – ‘Beyond Trade: Implementing the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol’s Human Rights and Equalities Provisions’

PI’s Colin Murray and Clare Rice have shared a working version of their article on the topic of human rights, equality, and the implementation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

The peer-reviewed paper, which will be published in its final form in the winter edition of Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly in early 2021, is available to download here.

Keep an eye on our Twitter account for updates on when the final article is published – @performidentity

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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