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Human Rights

Volume 710: debated on Monday 18 May 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how the requirements for appointment to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission differ from those for the Equality and Human Rights Commission; and what are the reasons for any differences. [HL3248]

All appointments for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Equality and Human Rights Commission are made in accordance with guidance from the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Beyond this, some differences stem from the different statutory bases for appointments to the two bodies. The Equality Act 2006 established the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Under the terms of the Act, EHRC can have no fewer than 10 and no more than 15 commissioners including the chair. Candidates are selected on merit and are required to meet the standards of an independent panel before they can be considered for appointment. The Minister for Women and Equality has the final decision on appointments, based on the panel's recommendations.. In making appointments to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, the Secretary of State has an obligation under Section 68(3) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 to, as far as practicable, secure that the commissioners, as a group, are representative of the community in Northern Ireland. In the most recent public appointments process to the commission in 2007, candidates were assessed against the following published criteria: corporate focus, responsibility and accountability, judgment and strategic thinking, and specialist expertise.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Malloch-Brown on 5 May (WA 102) concerning their assessment of human rights in other countries, what was meant by “our missions overseas regularly report on a variety of issues, including human rights, where appropriate”; who decides whether a country is appropriate; and on what basis. [HL3414]

British diplomatic missions overseas—including high commissions, embassies and consulates—report events, activities and other information relevant to our policy goals back to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and to other government departments. Reporting on human rights issues can be requested directly by the FCO or other government departments. Examples include when preparing the FCO's annual human rights report, assessing whether or not to grant an export licence, or taking forward work to eradicate torture or promote freedom of expression globally. In addition posts use their own judgment in reporting significant developments and providing analysis relevant to policy priorities.