NI: Jon Snow launches NIHRC annual report in Stormont

NIHRC Chief Commissioner Les Allamby
NIHRC Chief Commissioner Les Allamby

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) has expressed its disappointment at the failure of NI political parties to reach agreement on legacy issues, and urged consideration of “economic and social rights” in mitigating the outcome of welfare reform.

The NIHRC’s assessment of A Fresh Start: The Stormont House Agreement and Implementation Plan is included in its 2015 annual report, launched in the Northern Ireland Assembly today.

Channel 4 News presenter and journalist Jon Snow delivered a keynote speech focussing on human rights and the media at today’s launch, which was hosted by Mitchel McLaughlin, Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The report welcomed the extension of the National Crime Agency, the agreement to introduce domestic violence protection orders and a victim charter, the implementation of human trafficking legislation, care standards for nursing homes, and the transfer of responsibility for education of child offenders away from the Department of Justice.

NIHRC Chief Commissioner Les Allamby said: “We are honoured to have the internationally renowned journalist launch our Annual Statement this year.

“The statement provides a record of human rights over the past year and highlights 86 areas of public policy dealing with both devolved issues and Westminster issues. The media have been crucial in allowing the Commission to highlight its work.

“Freedom of the press is a key component of the democratic process and it is vital that Northern Ireland continues to have an independent press that is unrestrained in its ability to report accurately and truthfully on what is happening locally and globally.”

The full report is available from the NIHRC website.

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