Human Rights, Equality and Democtatic Renewal in Northern Ireland

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The question is which position will the British government ultimately back. The measures outlined below are ones the British government might adopt to support the pro-Agreement majority. They do not represent some new programme, but are in fact measures which have been left outstanding for decades. The failure of successive British governments to introduce them in the past has contributed to the present malaise.

Measures that must be introduced include legislation at Westminster to protect equality and cultural rights in Northern Ireland. This legislation would be in addition to measures already introduced as part of the Good Friday Agreement, and together with them would constitute a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. The idea of a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland first saw the light of day in the late s. It always had cross community support. Yet British government after British government failed to introduce such a measure.

As a result, they wasted many opportu-nities to provide for peaceful democratic advance in the North. The Bill of Rights should explicitly guarantee individual and community equality before the law, affirmative action to end discrimination and inequality, and equality of treatment of nationalist and unionist traditions and culture. The policing and justice system in Northern Ireland was inevitably tarnished by the years of conflict, civil unrest and the attacks on civil liberties.

Police reform, if it is to mean anything, has to address what measures are required to ensure that policing is properly representative of the community it serves, in terms of religion, political belief, gender, class and race, and properly accountable to the society it operates within. The Patten recommendations go some way along this road, but the British government has still to prove that it is fully committed to the changes in the policing function which are necessary to create a police service that is recruited from across the community, is unarmed to reflect the new political and security realities, and is committed to putting in place an effective independent system for dealing with complaints against it.

The bottom line for many people in Northern Ireland is a recognition that if policing is to function in harmony with new political structures a new organisation is necessary. The right to a full and fair defence is a basic tenet of any legal system, yet charges of intimidation against civil liberties and defence lawyers continue to receive scant attention.

The question of responsibility for the deaths of Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson has still to be properly investigated.

Harvey, Colin J.

Members of the Northern Ireland judiciary have never been as alert as they might have been, in preventing and challenging the erosion of human rights protections within the criminal justice system, and this is illustrated by the legacy of outstanding cases where a miscarriage of justice has been alleged. These are measures which have been demanded since the early s.

Front matter

Reform of the judiciary should be carried out in tandem with the reform of the police. Among the issues of concern to civil liberties groups are questions of selection and training of the judiciary. The government made a commitment in the Good Friday Agreement to new regional development and economic development strategies for Northern Ireland. Affirmative action measures should form the core of new thinking towards disadvantaged areas and the socially excluded.

The trade unions rightly demand that the British government should pursue a policy of affirmative action towards the unemployed and long-term unemployed. The trade unions also demand financial support for employers willing to agree affirmative action in their recruitment of the long-term unemployed, the setting of targets within public contracts for the recruitment of the long-term unemployed, the provision of affordable childcare and a tax allowance for childcare costs, as well as other, more focused, measures to target social need.

These measures form the basis of a programme to renew the Good Friday process. The political battle within the North is no longer just about the differences between nationalism and unionism: it is also about creating a politics which can transcend these differences. It is only in the context of such a politics that the issues of decommissioning can be resolved. Decommissioning will only take place within a framework of overall democratic transformation.

The issue will remain stalled as long as democratic advance remains problematic and conditional. At the very least, it should have several more TDs elected. This means that everything is subordinated to making political progress there.

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This is sometimes worked for at the expense of equally important national democratic issues in other parts of the island. There will be a temptation for many radicals to join the party on the basis that it represents the only show in town. This is understandable and is, in many ways, inevitable. However it is also important that enough radicals maintain a degree of independence, and work towards the development of campaigns on issues such as the erosion of national independence and neutrality. These issues transcend the traditional divisions of left and right and campaigns around them should not place themselves into a left or right straitjacket.

The coming period will see further erosion of democracy, sovereignty and national independence. For the first time, this country will become a net contributor to the European Union, as opposed to being a net beneficiary. The revelations about corruption will continue to undermine the legitimacy of the institutions of the state and the consensus political process generally.

Towards a Politics of Democratic Renewal

If there is a downturn in the US economy, this country, which in many ways is merely an offshore adjunct, will suffer and unemployment could become a major issue again. In that situation people will start to demand an alternative. The alternative might come from a racist and fundamentalist right, or from a national democratic political formation which offers a real alternative. Such a formation would unite democrats, republicans, socialists and greens around a programme of defence of national independence, independence from military power blocs, economic and social equity, and democracy at all levels of society.

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John Locke. The fifth edition enlarged. Stadtplan Giessen mit Hotel- und Stadtefuhrer downloaden. Northern Ireland in Transition: An Introduction. Northern Ireland, Devolution and the European Union. And Justice for All? The Judiciary and the Legal Profession in Transition. Shaping the Future of Criminal Justice. Retrieved from Bloomsbury Collections, www. Harvey ed Hart Publishing Preview Only The full text of this chapter is only available to members of institutions that have purchased access. McCrudden, C. Harvey Eds. London: Hart Publishing.

Harvey, 75—