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CAJ slams Bill of Rights proposals

Published 05/12/2009

A leading human rights group has accused the Government of undermining plans for a comprehensive Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland.

Secretary of State Shaun Woodward has launched a consultation on proposals for the Bill, which was envisaged in the Good Friday Agreement and St Andrews Agreement as a vehicle for providing legal protection for rights.

But the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) has criticised Mr Woodward's blueprint, claiming it recommends only two sets of rights and leaves out a series of other measures. Recommendations had been made by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, but CAJ director Mike Ritchie claimed that much of that work had effectively been set aside.

Mr Ritchie said: ”Only two rights are recommended for inclusion — the right to vote/be elected and the right to identify oneself and be accepted as British or Irish or both.”

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