Does every cloud have a silver lining? Brexit, repeal of the Human Rights Act and the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights
By Anne Smith, Monica McWilliams and Priyamvada Yarnell
Following the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom and the Conservative’s plan to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights, this article argues that this is an opportunity to re-open the debate on how best to address the current political stalemate on a Northern Ireland Bill of Rights, an unfulfilled element of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. We argue that at a time when there is so much uncertainty about the protection and safeguarding of rights with a real risk of lesser rights for fewer people in the United Kingdom, more than ever is the need to provide an alternative to progress the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights. This article provides that alternative. The article is supported in its conclusions by a series of semi-structured interview with a range of key players involved in Northern Ireland processes and point to the pressing need for an alternative approach to a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland.