Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission launches new strategic plan
The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) has launched its strategic plan for the next three years, with its key priorities including the impact of poverty on quality of living, victims’ rights, and access to justice.
Informed by a wide consultation process with a range of individuals, organisations and bodies across Northern Ireland, the strategy identifies the watchdog’s five strategic priority areas as:
- To keep under review law and practice and advise government for the benefit of everyone across Northern Ireland.
- To ensure that rights protection is not diminished as a result of United Kingdom having left the European Union and where required ensure that Northern Ireland keeps pace with changes in European Union equality laws.
- To build a society in which human rights are better understood, protected and valued, making a positive impact upon the delivery of services.
- To work in partnership with other human rights and equality bodies to maximise human rights protection.
- To be a learning organisation, improving our skills to achieve the greatest impact.
Speaking at the launch, chief commissioner Alyson Kilpatrick said: “Our new strategy provides a roadmap for the Commission’s work over the next three years, highlighting the important areas where we will focus our attention and resources.
“The Commission’s primary role is to make sure government and public authorities protect, respect and fulfil the human rights of everyone in Northern Ireland. We realise that not every person has always enjoyed their rights equally. We intend to redress that, by identifying those who have been under-represented and better meet their needs.
“The pandemic has exacerbated human rights issues that already existed here in Northern Ireland and has shone a brighter light at the deep-seated inequality across society. We want to see a culture of human rights which delivers practical outcomes, which are enjoyed by everyone regardless of their immutable characteristics or status.
“Since our last Strategic Plan, the Commission has been mandated with additional powers and duties to advise on and monitor the rights protections built into the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol. With the Equality Commission for NI, we formed the Dedicated Mechanism and are working to ensure that people’s rights will not be diminished as a result of Brexit.
“This strategy focuses on where we can make a lasting, positive difference to people’s lives, and help achieve our vision: a society with human rights values and standards at its heart to achieve equality, peace and justice.”