SDLP annual conference: Party 'will not tolerate a vacuum on human rights'
SDLP members have passed a motion at the annual party conference criticising proposals by the Government to repeal the Human Rights Act.
SDLP Justice Spokesperson Alban Maginness who spoke in support of the motion said: "As a Party, who from our inception have been firmly committed to Human Rights, we view with very serious concern the current British government’s proposal to repeal the current Human Rights Act.
"Given the appalling history of the denial and abuse of human rights in Northern Ireland, which played a huge part in the commencement of the Troubles, it would be madness for the British government to remove one of the most important legal protections ever to be introduced.
"There is a long standing legal and political commitment through International Treaty by the British government to the European Convention on Human Rights. Only a full withdrawal from the European Convention would actually negate their commitments to the European Court of Human Rights. If that were to happen the UK would end up as a human rights pariah like Kazakhstan or Belarus.
"SDLP will demand the immediate implementation of a separate NI Bill of Rights that replicates the British Human Rights Act. Our MPs will strongly oppose this retrograde measure which could damage and weaken the human rights aspects of the Good Friday Agreement.
"We will not tolerate a legislative vacuum on human rights here."