A group of civil society organisations have today published an open letter calling on the UK Government to advance the long-overdue Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland.
The letter comes on the 15th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement being passed in a referendum by the public.
Fiona McCausland, chairperson of the Human Rights Consortium, one of the organisations that signed the letter, said:
"When the public voted for the agreement 15 years ago today, they voted for all of the agreement, not just part of it."
"Human rights are part of the normal checks and balances of any healthy democracy. In a society that has come through so much and still remains divided they become all the more important.
"The UK government has a duty to implement a Bill of Rights as part of the Agreement. Instead of using the lack of political consensus here as an excuse they should show leadership.
If that means initiating a process to build consensus with local politicians, then they must take action to do so rather than abdicate their responsibilities.”
22nd May 2013
Fifteen years ago today the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement was overwhelmingly approved by a referendum of the people.
It heralded the beginning of the end to conflict and a start to a new society in Northern Ireland.
There have been many positive developments since that day, but the full promise of the Agreement has yet to be delivered.
As with many societies emerging from conflict, a Bill of Rights was part of Northern Ireland's peace agreement.
This Bill of Rights was intended, via Westminster legislation, to help secure the peace by protecting the rights of everyone.
As events in Northern Ireland continue to show, the need to build a just and peaceful society is as important as ever.
Fifteen years on, the UK government has still not fully implemented the Agreement.
It has still not legislated for the Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland.
We call on the UK Government to secure the peace, deliver on its Agreement commitments and legislate for a Northern Ireland Bill of Rights.
Children’s Law Centre
Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ)
Disabled Police Officers Association
Human Rights Consortium
Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)
The National Union of Students-Union of Students in Ireland (NUS-USI)
North-West Community Network
Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM)
Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA)
Relatives For Justice
Rural Community Network
Save the Children
Unite the Union
WAVE Trauma Centre
Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland