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Equal Opportunities

Volume 175: debated on Tuesday 26 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish the report he has received from the Standing Advisory commission on Human Rights on religious and political discrimination and equality of opportunity; and if he will make a statement.

I am publishing the report today as a command paper (Cm. 1107) and copies have been laid before Parliament.The report "Religious and Political Discrimination and Equality of Opportunity in Northern Ireland: Second Report" concluded a major review by the commission of the laws and institutions dealing with religious and political discrimination and equality of opportunity in Northern Ireland. The commission's first report "Report on Fair Employment" was published as a command paper (Cm. 237) in 1987.

I am grateful to the commission for the considerable effort which has been devoted to the preparation of the report which I regard as a valuable one and a welcome contribution to how human rights might be further protected in Northern Ireland. It would be inappropriate of me to commit the Government to accepting the commission's recommendations before there has been an opportunity for these to be fully considered, but I am firmly committed to eradicating discrimination and ensuring equality of opportunity for everyone in Northern Ireland whatever their religious background. I shall therefore be giving the report and its detailed recommendations the very careful consideration they deserve before reaching any conclusions.