European Group meets in Belfast - UN Treaty Bodies

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has today hosted a crucial session of European National Human Rights Institutions in Belfast. The Scottish Human Rights Commission currently chairs the European Group.

At the session the National Institutions will adopt their response to the United Nations High Commissioner's Report on the Strengthening of the Human Rights Treaty Body System. Senior United Nations representative, Dr Ibrahim Salama will participate at the meeting.

NIHRC Chief Commissioner, Professor Michael O'Flaherty, said:

"The United Nations system delivers expert analysis of a country's human rights situation and sets targeted recommendations for improvement. It also raises awareness of human rights across government departments and galvanizes civil society. Human rights protection in Northern Ireland would be a lot weaker in its absence. However the system is currently in trouble. Today we aim to formulate a strong position in support of the strengthening of the treaty monitoring system. We are only too aware that this may be our last and best chance to secure its future."

Chair of the European Group of National Human Rights Institutions Professor Alan Miller added: "The European Group welcomes today's important meeting hosted by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. It looks forward to developing its response and contributing to the strengthening of the UN treaty body system which is of vital importance for the people of Europe and the world. NHRIs have a crucial role to play in the promotion and protection of human rights and serve as a bridge between the international human rights system and the realisation of such rights within their home countries."

Read the Belfast Statement in PDF format: