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Brexit threatens common human rights space on the island of Ireland, says PACE

George Katrougalos (Greece, UEL)
©Council of Europe

PACE has urged the United Kingdom to ensure that Brexit does not result in any diminution of rights for the people of Northern Ireland, warning that the withdrawal from the European Union has “reignited deep-seated tensions in Northern Irish society, furthering political division and contributing significantly to the paralysis of devolved institutions”.

Approving a resolution based on a report by George Katrougalos (Greece, UEL), the Assembly said that Brexit had “shaken the delicate balance created by the peace process and threatened the common human rights space previously shared by all people on the island of Ireland”.

There are also “serious concerns” regarding the compatibility of the Northern Ireland Troubles Legacy and Reconciliation Bill with the European Convention on Human Rights, the parliamentarians pointed out.

While the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol has had an overall positive economic effect on Northern Ireland, the Assembly noted that “the related rhetoric has been divisive” and used as a pretext to hold public institutions in Northern Ireland hostage.

The parliamentarians urged the UK to “reaffirm its commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights” and, as regards the Protocol, to “refrain from unilateral actions which undermine international law”.

They also called on authorities and political forces in Northern Ireland to “return to power-sharing immediately.”

Both the UK and Ireland should work together in a “cooperative, constructive and forward-looking spirit” to deal with the legacy of the Troubles, and make implementation of the Good Friday Agreement “an utmost priority”.