10 March 1998
Adams comments on SACHR Review
The British Government Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights (SACHR) issued its review of jobs discrimination and equality of opportunity last June.The British Government response is expected tomorrow.
Commenting on the issues involved Sinn FÈin President Gerry Adams M.P. said:
``It is now thirty years since the civil rights struggle highlighted the issue of jobs discrimination against nationalists and catholics.
``And still we have discrimination. We have not realised equality of opportunity. This obtains in other sections of the community also, including women, the disabled and ethnic minorities.
``Equality in all its dimension is a critical element of the peace process. British Government intentions in relation to jobs discrimination and equality of opportunity in employment are a litmus test of their wider intentions on the equality agenda.
``There can be no lasting political settlement without a firm foundation of equality. This is a fundamental democratic right.
``Some of the recommendations of the SACHR report of last June which clearly need supported in the form of amendments to the `89 legislation are:
- extending affirmative action to cover unemployment and especially long term unemployed.
- giving the F.E.C. a role in recruiting from the long term unemployed.
- extending the scope of contract compliance to include goods and services.
- repealing the `national security exemptions' provision which in fact is the blatant political vetting of workers.
- putting PAFT on a statutory footing which makes it effective and
- ensuring that TSN is taken seriously, ensuring that it is implemented.
``The SACHR report, if acted upon, has a positive and potentially significant contribution to make. It has produced tools for change. What it cannot produce is the will to use those tools. Only the British Government can do that.
``But it is self evident that while legislation is clearly necessary it is not sufficient on its own to tackle structural inequalities. To do that effectively there needs to be a co ordinated and integrated strategy involving legislation and economic and social policies.
``There must be a clear and unambiguous constitutional instruction in relation to equality and in relation to direct and indirect discrimination. There must be effective comprehensive legislation. There must be effective institutional underpinning. There must be a co ordinated and integrated strategy involving legislation, social and economic policies. There must be goals and timetables for the required change. Change must be sustainable. These are the criteria by which the British Government response to the SACHR report needs to be judged.''
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