3 July 1997 Edition

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Amnesty warns Labour government

By Eoin O'Broin

Amnesty International has written to British Prime Minister Tony Blair this week with an agenda for human rights protection which highlights key human rights issues to be tackled by his government.

Amnesty said that: ``The new government has an opportunity to make significant moves for human rights protection throughout the United Kingdom''.

Recommended measures included ensuring that British practice was in keeping with internationally accepted standards, reinstalling the right to silence, reviewing the inquest system, repealling the police inquiry system and establishing a Human Rights Commission which would have full powers to strengthen human rights protection.

The Amnesty spokesperson said that ``In relation to Northern Ireland, Amnesty International believes that - given the large number of human rights violations perpetrated there - there is a particular need for the government to review a number of issues including policing and emergency legislation provisions, with a view to increasing the protection of human rights''.

Sinn Féin justice spokesperson Barry McElduff welcomed the report as ``once again vindicating the accusations that British governments human rights record is abysmal. What we need now is a genuine commitment by Tony Blair's new administration to take human rights seriously and change the pattern set by 18 years of Tory rule''.


Report urges equality

By Eoin O'Broin

Commenting on the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights report issued this week, Sinn Féin party Chair Mitchel McLaughlin told An Phoblacht; ``This report, like others before it, has produced the tools for change. What it cannot produce is the will to use those tools. Only the British government can do that. The injection of the political will into the equation is their responsibility''.

The report is the final part of SACHR's review of fair employment legislation in the six counties. It makes a series of recommendations including putting government equality guidelines such as Targeting Social Need and PAFT on a statutory basis.

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