Belfast Telegraph

Rights workshops held during summer festival

by Michael Bashford

The Human Rights Consortium, as part of the Lower Castlereagh Community Group’s summer festival, played host to a day of interactive workshops, information and discussions at Avoniel Leisure Centre recently.

The event, which helped raise awareness of human rights in the area, allowed all members of the community to get involved in |discussing the potential for implementing a human rights based approach toward issues |including health, education, housing and employment in |order to promote community |development.

Interactive workshops allowed children to creatively explore the significance of human |rights and the importance of protecting, respecting and fulfilling those rights in their everyday lives.

Representatives from the Participation and the Practice of Rights Project (PPR), the Lower Castlereagh Community Group (LCCG), the East Belfast Community Development Agency (EBCDA) and the Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty Network (NIAPN) shared their experience of working with local communities and offered residents the opportunity to get involved in a variety of rights projects.

Fiona McCausland, chairperson of the Human Rights Consortium and chair of the discussion panel at the interactive workshops, said: “In the current economic climate where budget cuts are |severe, awareness of our rights has never been more important.

“These workshops are an |excellent way to highlight to local communities, the importance of knowing, protecting and respecting our rights.

“Awareness is the first step to ensuring equality for everyone and is the building block for a more peaceful and respectful Northern Ireland.”

Sam White, chairperson of the Lower Castlereagh Community Group said: “It has been great to have the Human Rights Consortium host these workshops to raise awareness of human rights and how they relate to the lives of people in east Belfast.”

The Human Rights Consortium is a coalition of more than 150 organisations derived from all areas of the community and voluntary sector, non-governmental organisations and trade unions.

It was established in 2000 to encourage widespread community participation in the consultation process on the Bill of Rights that had been proposed for Northern Ireland.

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