On the 25th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement (GFA), the institutions of that Agreement should be working. Unfortunately, they are not.
In addition, there are serious concerns regarding the Human Rights Framework of the Agreement.
At the time of the GFA, Ireland and Britain were both members of the European Union and the GFA was signed with specific obligations in relations to international and European Union human rights law. Commitments to the European Convention of Human Rights contained in the GFA were one of its important achievements.
Since BREXIT, there has been a Withdrawal Agreement, a Protocol, and amendments to the Protocol by a Windsor Framework. Despite these efforts, the British Government has introduced several Bills, many potentially breaking international law and undermining international and European Union human rights protections. Britain’s proposed Human Rights Act 1998 reform, the so-called Legacy Bill, the Protocol Bill, the Illegal (sic) Migration Bill, and the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill can all be cited in this regard.
All of the above proposals raise concerns with regard to maintaining the terms of the GFA and have been cited in a significant report published in February 2023 by an international delegation of lawyers – the International Jurists Delegation to Ireland.
According to article 3 of the Statute of the Council of Europe, member States are obliged to accept the principles of the rule of law (including international law) and of human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons within their jurisdiction. Therefore, the Parliamentary Assembly should investigate the GFA’s implementation and all outstanding parts of the agreement yet to be implemented, and make recommendations with particular reference to honouring the human rights framework of the agreement.