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Bill of Rights Consultation - What difference would a bill of rights make and what would it contain?



A local bill of rights would detail the rights protections that everyone can depend on; it would set out the laws that we would agree to protect everyone. A bill of rights could show everyone what we, as a society, aspire to.


But how would we do that to ensure that the rights of everyone are represented?


In Northern Ireland, many place great importance on what is called ‘parity of esteem’, that is, to value all traditions equally, and think this parity should be backed up by legal provisions. Do you think that this or other values should act as a foundation for rights here?


A bill of rights could also include what are called civil and political rights. Commonly these include freedom of expression, the right to gather together in public, the right to practice your religion freely, the right to a fair trial and the right not to be discriminated against. We want to know whether you think these types of rights should be included within a bill of rights here.


Can you think of other civil and political rights that it might be useful to include in a bill of rights? For example, we might think that children deserve explicit rights, or that the right to move freely and live wherever you want in Northern Ireland should be specified in any human rights bill.


Besides the rights we commonly think about as being civil and political rights there has been a view that economic, social and cultural rights should also be included in any bill. Should people have a right to an agreed standard of living? Should people have a right to be educated in the language of their choice? Are there any other social, economic and cultural rights that you think are important? For example, should everyone have the right to be as healthy as possible and to have access to good health services?

Gif showing images of different people of all ages, genders and ethnicities with the text "You have the right to have your say".

We all know that dealing with the changing climate and the environment are more important than ever. Everyone is being encouraged to eat more locally-produced foods, use less plastic and recycle. But should the right to a healthy environment be included in a bill of rights?


While our survey tries to cover a range of issues that could form part of a new bill of rights, we want to make sure that we don’t miss anything that you feel is important. So please, tell us what you think, what you feel is important and let us know if there’s anything we haven’t considered.


Have your say by filling in this short online survey. 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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