First joint board meeting of three Commissions following Brexit

The first joint Board meeting of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission took place today at the Ballymascanlon House Hotel, Dundalk.
The three Chief Commissioners, Geraldine McGahey, ECNI, Alyson Kilpatrick, NIHRC and Sinead Gibney, IHREC, said the joint working is important.

“As we emerge from both the pandemic and the immediate impact of the UK’s withdrawal, we are sensitive that this is a delicate time for human rights and equality across the globe, but particularly in Northern Ireland, and we intend to build on our positive working relationship to ensure that we protect and promote the rights and equality of everyone on this island.”

The meeting was to review and plan the work of the three Commissions on overseeing and reporting on the equality and human rights issues of people in Ireland with an all island dimension following Brexit.
The meeting heard via video from Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Conor Burns, MP, and Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, TD.

In Article 2 (1) of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol, the UK Government made a commitment to protecting certain equality and human rights in Northern Ireland after Brexit. The two Northern Ireland bodies have been given additional roles and responsibilities to oversee this commitment and to ensure that it is upheld. They work in partnership with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission on equality and human rights issues relevant to the UK Government’s commitment that have an island of Ireland dimension.

To find out more about the UK Government’s commitment under Article 2 of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol or about making a complaint in the event of an alleged breach of this commitment, please contact the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland www.equalityni.org/brexit or the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission www.nihrc.org/human-rights-after- brexit.

ENDS

For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,
01 8589601 / 087 0697095
bdawson@ihrec.ie
Follow us on twitter @_IHREC

Role of Commissions

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland have been tasked with overseeing the Government’s commitment to protecting equality and human rights in a post Brexit Northern Ireland, through a dedicated mechanism framework.
Under the Ireland/NI Protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement reached with the EU, the UK Government committed to ensuring that the protections currently in place in Northern Ireland for the rights, safeguards and equality of opportunity provisions set out in the chapter of the same name in the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement will not be reduced as a result of the UK leaving the EU including in the area of protection against discrimination (Article 2(1)).
In the context of the Article 2 commitment, The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC), Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI) and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) will work together to provide oversight of, and reporting on, rights and equalities issues falling within the scope of the commitment that have an island of Ireland dimension.
Schedule 3 of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 confers new functions on both the NI Commissions (ECNI and NIHRC), to enable each to act as part of the ‘dedicated mechanism’ (DM), to monitor, advise, report on and enforce the UK’s adherence to its commitment that there will be no diminution of rights, safeguards or equality of opportunity in Northern Ireland as a result of the UK’s exit from the EU.

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures

 

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