PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton will be the keynote speaker at the Impact of the Human Rights Act in Northern Ireland conference today in the UNISON building.
The Human Rights Consortium is hosting this free one-day conference which is aimed at capturing the local impact of this seminal human rights legislation and the potential problems of its withdrawal from statute.
15 years after the Human Rights Act became law, the Conservative government is planning to repeal it. This conference will hear from a host of voices within the civil, political, public authority and academic spheres on the future of the Human Rights Act and the impact it has had in Northern Ireland.
The Chief Constable will outline the role which the Human Rights Act has played in policing and the human rights-based structures within the force itself. The Chief Constable will participate in a Q&A along with Brian Gormally, CAJ, Niall Murphy, KRW Law, and chaired by Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty, centring on the civil and political implications of the Human Rights Act.
Queen’s University human rights academic Professor Chris McCrudden will open the afternoon session with a presentation on the constitutional significance of the Human Rights Act in Northern Ireland.
Attendees will be able to hear representatives from a wide range of NGOs speak about social and economic impact that the Human Rights Act has had on the work that they are involved with. The floor will be opened up and those in the audience will be given an opportunity to put questions to the panel.
Closing remarks will be provided by Les Allamby, Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.
Kevin Hanratty, Director of the Human Rights Consortium said, ‘The concept of repealing the Human Rights Act raises massive political, legal and constitutional problems across the UK but very specifically in Northern Ireland where it was part of our peace settlement and the series of check and balances placed at the heart of the Stormont system to instil confidence in these new institutions by both main communities. Today’s event is focussed on gathering the NI specific impacts of the Human Rights Act. The evidence today will highlight that the Human Rights Act has been a positive force for good in ensuring that public authorities increasingly take account of human rights for those in care, those with physical and learning disabilities and for the elderly among many others. Repealing the Human Rights Act does not make sense when its primary focus is upholding the dignity and rights of all members of our society.’
Edel Quinn, Age NI Strategic Policy Advisor, will highlight the impact of the Human Rights Act on older people in Northern Ireland.