'Human rights and equality at stake' in Brexit talks say campaigners

A north-south border crossing to Muff village in Co Donegal from Derry. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Brendan Hughes

HUMAN rights campaigners in Ireland say "fundamental questions about human rights and equality are at stake" in Brexit negotiations.

In a joint letter, 15 activists on both sides of the border have urged negotiators to ensure the Good Friday Agreement's "core principles of rights and equality" are maintained when the UK leaves the European Union.

And any agreement on the Irish border issue should not lead to a more restrictive immigration controls on the island or any measures that may lead to "racial profiling", they said.

"There must be no regression or diminution of existing human rights and equality guarantees for all people living in Northern Ireland and those rights protected under European Union law must be retained.

"The principle of equivalence in human rights and equality protections between both parts of the island, as set out in the Belfast Agreement, must continue to be respected," they wrote.

In the letter published in yesterday's Irish Times, they said the protections of the European Convention on Human Rights and EU Charter of Fundamental Rights must also be retained alongside the Human Rights Act.

"We now urge all parties to the current negotiations to ensure that these principles are fully considered at all stages in the Brexit process and that these principles are reflected in any agreement which is reached between the United Kingdom and the European Union," they wrote.

The letter signatories included representatives of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties Committee on the Administration of Justice; the Human Rights Consortium; Children's Law Centre; the Irish Congress of Trade Unions; Northern Ireland Community of Refugees and Asylum Seekers; Children's Rights Alliance; Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action; and academics in human rights.

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