Thursday 19 June 2014

Bill of Rights for fairness and inclusiveness in Northern Ireland

#uNDC14 UNISON will press for a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland as conference applauded the stance of our colleagues in Northern Ireland UNISON in leading a public protest at the failure of government and politicians to agree a way forward on the "unfinished business" of the Good Friday Agreement.

A Scottish amendment highlighted the need to ensure that equality and human rights remain a priority for the whole of our union. It condemned the lack of political will by the Northern Ireland Government to use equality impact assessments to prevent historic patterns of discrimination for the most disadvantaged in society.

Moving the amendment, Scottish Convener, Lilian Macer pledged UNISON Scotland's continuing support for the peace process and for our colleagues in Northern Ireland.

"The signing of the Good Friday Agreement gave hope and aspiration that it would lead to a fairer, more inclusive and human-rights based society across the whole of Ireland, and indeed some of the reforms were delivered fairly quickly," said Lilian. "However other significant commitments remain outstanding."

Lilian said that on a visit to Northern Ireland in December, she saw firsthand the detrimental impact that the roll back on equality and human rights has had on individuals and communities, with lower life expectancy in some areas than before the signing of the Agreement.

She attended the launch of a Conference Report, "Mapping the Roll-Back" which showed a nation move over the past 16 years "from anticipation to frustration."

She called for UNISON to vigorously challenge Government failure to enforce Equality Impact Assessments in Northern Ireland and across the UK.

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