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Bill of Rights Consultation - Do we all enjoy the same basic human rights?


When we talk about human rights, we mean basic rights and freedoms that every person has, no matter who they are. We commonly understand these rights to include a right to vote and express your opinions, a right to an education and family life and a right not to be treated badly or punished in a cruel way.


So, do you think everyone who lives in Northern Ireland enjoys the same basic human rights?


The Ad Hoc Committee on a Bill of Rights is currently looking at the issues of creating a bill of rights for Northern Ireland. The subject of a bill of rights here has been discussed for decades and has been mentioned in many historical documents, including the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and most recently, New Decade New Approach.


Even though we have left the European Union, the rights of people here are still covered by the European Convention on Human Rights. But is that enough to support the needs of everyone who lives here, or does Northern Ireland require its own bill of rights? If so, what rights should it include? These are the questions at the heart of this Committee’s consultation.


Due to Northern Ireland’s particular circumstances, many rights and provisions which are sometimes included in a bill of rights can be politically divisive, such as language, culture and heritage. Do some people or sections of society here require additional protection for their rights? For example, do people with caring responsibilities or those from a minority background need more protection than they have currently?


These are important questions and this is why the Committee is so keen to hear from as many people as possible as part of its public consultation, to ensure that as wide a range of views are represented so that responses are reflective of society.


Since March 2020, the Committee has been examining the background to a bill of rights here, as well as consulting with many experts on human rights from across the globe. The Committee will report its findings and present them to the Assembly for debate, but first, it wants and needs to hear from you – the people who live here and whose rights are at the centre of this consultation.


Have your say on the creation of a bill of rights by filling in this short online survey or by making a detailed submission to the Committee.


Paper copies of the survey are available (email ) or you can request to complete the consultation via phone on 02890 521169.


The closing date for the consultation is Friday 5th February at 5pm.


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