[Sinn Fein]

30th July 2002

Human Rights Commission appointment violates Paris Principles

Sinn Fein highlights ongoing concerns

Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Justice, Equality, and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh has joined the Human Rights Commission and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties in criticising the Ministerial appointment of the Commission's new president. He called on the Minister to ensure that any future appointments are in accordance with the Paris Principles, and to publicly confirm that he will do so.

Indicating that the independent appointment issue is just one of Sinn Fein's concerns about the status of the Human Rights Commission, Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

``It has now been over a year since the government missed the deadline for full implementation of Good Friday Agreement, of which the establishment of the Human Rights Commission was a crucial part. As a state that prides itself on its commitment to the promotion of human rights - in the peace process and on the international stage - it is a matter of national and international embarrassment that our Human Rights Commission is still not fully functional more than four years later, especially given that the northern Commission has been up and running for several years now.

``This Government has stated that full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement is its top priority. The legislative impediment to the Human Rights Commission's full statutory basis was removed more than a year ago. The President's post has now been filled. The Government has run out of excuses for the ongoing delay, and I therefore call on the Minister to move immediately to fulfil the terms of the Agreement by making the Commission fully operational.''

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