Brexit and human rights

 

Sir, – We write to express our serious concern about the current Brexit negotiations between the UK government and the EU and the draft withdrawal agreement and protocol to apply if the UK leaves the EU.

Throughout this process we have urged all participants to respect and uphold the agreements reached in the EU-UK joint report of December 2017 and to ensure that the Belfast Agreement is defended and fully implemented.

We are concerned that human rights and equality guarantees contained in the Belfast Agreement and its subsequent implementing agreements may be neglected and at suggestions that changes might be made to the agreement as a result of UK withdrawal from the EU.

As these negotiations enter a key phase, we once again stress the critical and urgent importance of adhering to existing equality and human rights commitments, and treaty obligations. We urge everyone to reflect on the impact that decisions made now may have on future generations. – Yours, etc,

KEVIN HANRATTY,

Director,

Human Rights Consortium;

PADDY KELLY,

Director,

Children’s Law Centre;

Prof COLIN HARVEY,

School of Law,

Queen’s University Belfast;

BRIAN GORMALLY,

Director,

Committee on the

Administration of Justice;

MICHAEL FARRELL,

Solicitor;

Prof SIOBHÁN

MULLALLY,

Established Professor

of Human Rights Law

and Director of the

Irish Centre

for Human Rights,

NUI Galway;

LIAM HERRICK,

Executive Director,

Irish Council

for Civil Liberties;

EILIS BARRY,

Chief Executive,

Free Legal Advice Centres;

PATRICIA McKEOWN,

Regional Secretary,

Unison,

Belfast.