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Northern Ireland: Human Rights Commission

Volume 700: debated on Thursday 24 April 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What additional powers have been given to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission since its creation; when; by what means; and for what purpose. [HL2801]

Section 69 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 set out the functions of the Northern Ireland Humans Rights Commission and tasked it, at Section 69(2), with making recommendations to Government on improving its own effectiveness.

Following public consultation on recommendations made by the Commission, the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 extended new powers to the Commission, which gave it:

the power to access places of detention as part of its investigations (from 1 August 2007);

the power to compel evidence as part of its investigations (from 1 August 2007); and

the power to rely on the European Convention on Human Rights when instituting legal proceedings in its own name (from 24 May 2007).

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When and in what form they agreed to fund the work of a joint committee with the Irish Human Rights Commission and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. [HL2828]

No agreement has been made for the Government to fund the work of a joint committee with the Irish Human Rights Commission and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission reflects the principles of mutual respect for the identity and ethos of both communities and parity of esteem in its selection of cases. [HL2831]

As the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission remains independent of Government, the noble Lord may wish to write to the commission directly on this matter.