[Sinn Fein]

22 November 2001

McGimpsey appointment slammed

Sinn Fein Human Rights spokesperson Pat McNamee has criticised the appointment of Ulster Unionist Councillor Chris McGimpsey to the Human Rights Commission. Speaking in response to today's appointment of four new commissioners Mr. McNamee said:

``While Sinn Fein welcomes the inclusion of representatives from the disabled and ethnic minority communities on the Human Rights Commission we believe that the appointment of Chris McGimpsey is an insult to many in our community who have been on the receiving end of his anti human rights activities on Belfast City Council.

``Given his membership of the Loyal Orders, the challenge he faces of convincing the people of the Springfield and Garvaghy Roads, never mind the wider Nationalist and Republican community, of his commitment to human rights based on parity of esteem and equality of treatment is probably insurmountable.

``It is clear that this appointment is politically motivated and is evidence that the NIO has again aligned itself with Unionist opposition to the creation of a human rights culture on this island.

``Sinn Fein has consistently voiced its concern at the minimalist approach that the Human Rights Commission appears intent on adopting as evidenced in many of its flawed proposals contained in the draft Bill of Rights. The appointment of Mr. McGimpsey will only strengthen the hand of those, inside and outside the Commission, who oppose the full realisation of a broad-based Bill of Rights. This must be resisted by all within our society who want to secure their human rights, regardless of their political, religious or cultural background.''

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