No good news as Stormont’s three-year absence takes toll on human rights

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Saturday, December 28th, 2019

The absence of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive has left outstanding human rights issues to ‘drift indefinitely’, a new report by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission states.

The report highlights a lack of progress on human rights in Northern Ireland in 2019.

At the launch, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, will give an update on poverty in the UK – an issue which is also addressed in the report.

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Chief Commissioner, Les Allamby, stated, “The absence of the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly has practical consequences that extend beyond politics.



“The crisis around healthcare provision is concerning for everyone. Rising poverty and homeless figures in Northern Ireland give cause for much concern.

“205 people who were homeless in Northern Ireland have died in a recent 18-month period. This is more than a quarter of all homeless deaths in the UK during that period. Behind every death is an individual story and a wider tale of society’s failure to properly protect vulnerable people.

“Our 2019 Annual Statement demonstrates that not one human rights concern has been effectively resolved in Northern Ireland.

“Whilst we welcome the movement on human rights compliant laws around termination of pregnancy, the introduction of same-sex marriage, and redress for victims of historical institutional abuse, so many other issues affecting victim rights, housing and healthcare remain unresolved. 



She added, “The UK Government has a legal obligation to tackle these outstanding human rights issues, outlined in today’s report, without hesitation.”

Welcoming the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, to the event, Chief Commissioner, Les Allamby, added, “We are delighted to welcome the UN Special Rapporteur, Philip Alston, to this year’s launch to share an update on poverty in the UK.

“Philip Alston’s own report on poverty in the UK, presented to the UN Human Rights Council in July, shone a light on the extent of poverty and inequality in one of the richest countries in the world.



“The report was highly critical of recent social security reforms and their impact on individuals and families. Many of our findings in this year’s human rights statement chime with his report.

“Our recent cumulative impact assessment of tax and social security reforms showed that it was people on the lowest incomes who were shouldering the largest burden. We now wait to see the impact of the new government in Westminster and we hope the ongoing Stormont Talks will bring about the much-needed restoration of the N.I Executive,” she added.

UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston commented, “The re-election of the Conservative Party Government was based in part on a campaign promising the end of austerity.



He added, “In addition to more nurses and police, this must include the reform of Universal Credit and the restoration of the broader safety net.”


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