Home > Commentary, Human Rights in the News > Manning on Resourcing Human Rights Bodies and the Belfast Agreement

Manning on Resourcing Human Rights Bodies and the Belfast Agreement

The Irish Times reports that the president of the Irish Human Rights Commission, which lost nearly a third of its budget last year, will “not be able to exist” if the Government imposes further cuts this year. Mr Manning was addressing the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly in Swansea.

In addition to highlighting the issue of funding for the IHRC, Mr Manning argued in his presentation that Commission should be made accountable to the Oireachtas and not to a governmental department. (Section 23 of the Human Rights Commission Act 2000 renders the Commission accountable to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform).

Reasons advanced by Mr Manning for the proposed change included the fact that,

Such a link would not only be in keeping with international best practice, but would also acknowledge that human rights impact on all areas of law, policy and practice in Ireland and not merely issues within the justice sector.

Furthermore, it would honour the recommendation of the UN Human Rights Committee, which in its most recent Concluding Observations to the Government called for the IHRC’s independence and capacity to be further enhanced by, as the Committee stated, “endowing it with adequate and sufficient resources and linking it to the Oireachtas”.

He also called for the establishment of a joint committee on human rights by the Oireachtas, modelled on the existing one in Westminster, “to scrutinise all government Bills and government action on judgments of the domestic courts, and the European Court of Human Rights would strengthen Ireland’s strong commitment to human rights”.

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