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Proposals for Peace Democracy and Community Reconciliation, by NICRA (1973)



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Text: Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) ... Page Compiled: Brendan Lynn

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PROPOSALS FOR PEACE
DEMOCRACY AND COMMUNITY RECONCILIATION

Presented
to the People of Northern Ireland
by the N.I.C.R.A.
March 1973



BACKGROUND TO THE WHITE PAPER

NICRA’S sees the recently published White Paper as a British attempt to clean up what is basically a British created mess, irrespective of the needs or aspirations of the vast majority of our people. We do not believe that the main proposals contained in it go far enough to dismantle the obstacles standing in the way of the development of democratic non-sectarian politics in Northern Ireland.

In our view the White Paper must be viewed in the context of changing British policy towards Northern Ireland and indeed Ireland generally. The British Tory Party, which was once the traditional ally of Unionism has now clearly ditched its former friend and is now hoping to create a new political consensus in Northern Ireland capable of fulfilling the same role as the former Stormont rulers. This new consensus, which the British Government hopes will operate the new settlement contained in the White Paper must be broader based than the Unionist Party could ever hope to become. This is necessary if the settlement and the forces in Northern Ireland which will operate it are to take account of what is known as the Irish Dimension As the Green Paper on the Future of Northern Ireland stated: ‘It is therefore clearly desirable that any new arrangements for Northern Ireland should whilst meeting the wishes of Northern Ireland and Britain be so far as possible acceptable to and accepted by the Republic of Ireland.’ Again quoting from the Green Paper the reason for this recognition of the Irish Dimension is because ‘Both the economy and security of the two areas are to some considerable extent inter-dependent, and the same is true of both in their relationship with Great Britain.’

Traditional Unionism quite rightly saw the writing on the wall with the suspension of Stormont and the introduction of direct rule almost one year ago. The particular form of devolution Inside the United Kingdom which had been in force for the people of Northern Ireland came to an end. It Is important to remember that ‘Home Rule’ for Northern Ireland had not been wanted by the Official Unionists or the Sinn Fein parties in Ireland and the Grand Design of the British Government under the Government of Ireland Act of 1920 was to establish two subordinate Parliaments in Ireland co-operating within a council of Ireland but with important powers ‘reserved’ to Westminster and ‘protecting the supreme authority of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.’

Northern Ireland was set up under the threat of armed rebellion by the Unionists of North East Ulster. The statelet of Northern Ireland was established by the Westminster Government of Ireland Act.

For fifty years political power was in the hands of one party, the Unionist Party which commanded the largest number of votes from the electorate of Northern Ireland. From the time this party came into power, it institutionalised sectarian differences by sophisticated and intelligent devices. First, it successfully challenged in 1922, the attempts by the British government to withhold the Royal Assent to Bills passed by the Senate and the Northern Ireland House of Commons. This resulted in the Northern Ireland Government altering local government boundaries and electoral divisions and imposing on members of local authorities an obligation to make a declaration of allegiance. Secondly, an armed para-military sectarian force which had earlier been established was now continued on dubious legal grounds to terrorise the minority who still disagreed with the Unionists. Thirdly, proportional representation (which had made its first appearance in any British constitutional document (in the Government of Ireland Act of 1922) was abolished. The use of the restricted franchise in local elections and multiple voting, discrimination in the siting of new industries and academic institutions and in the allocation of jobs and houses and the use of special and undemocratic laws (not found in other parts of Britain) such as the Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act of 1922 and the Emergency Powers Act of 1926 had the firm aims of forcing anti-Unionists to emigrate and the deliberate fostering of sectarianism as an electoral weapon.

Northern Ireland was never allowed by the Unionists to develop along the lines of a region with local autonomy where ordinary political and ideological differences were settled by political means.

Direct Rule took political power in Northern Ireland out of the hands of the Unionist Party. The Powers formerly vested in Stormont were vested in the hands of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. The British Government took this course as the supreme legislative authority for the area. But although Stormont was suspended almost one year ago all the important anti-democratic laws of Stormont are stilt in force and there has been no concerted drive made against sectarianism by the British Government. NICRA never called for direct rule from Westminster because we realised that it was no guarantee that the effects of Unionist One-Party government would be eliminated. This has been the case to date. The White Paper still only contains proposals which will improve our situation some measure We have had to wait one year and hundreds of deaths for this meagre advance.

Instead of direct rule NICRA, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the British TUC and large sections of Irish and British public opinion repeatedly called on both the Labour and Conservative Governments to amend the Government of Ireland Act using section 75 of that Act to introduce a Bill of Rights which would have ended repressive legislation, introduced democracy and tackled sectarianism without taking away from the people of Northern Ireland the potential to determine their own future in justice and democracy. This approach would have freed our people from the suffering which direct rule caused and would have provided them with more democracy than they are even now offered in the White Paper.

Since 1969 the major trend has been a massive increase in the military presence here. The military have largely acted without the Common Law restraints which citizenship of the United Kingdom should enable us to claim. The military presence permeates every aspect of our lives. Despite formal denials by the British Government the whole tendency of British policy has been to produce a purely military solution to a complex political problem. The White Paper states quite unequivocably that ‘the government’ has no higher priority than to bring the present state of violence to an end.’ This priority has continued to take precedence over the introduction of any measure to allow for the unfettered functioning of democracy. A Democracy which 50 years of Unionism and one year of direct rule has stultified. To change this situation remains the prime objective of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association.


ELECTIONS AND THE ASSEMBLY

We welcome the fact that elections are being held to give all of the population the opportunity to express their opinion through the ballot box. We welcome the fact that the elections, both for local Government and the new Assembly will be held under proportional representation. This will allow people to vote for candidates who reflect their own particular viewpoint, and not just any orange, green or red candidate, to ‘keep the other fellows out’.

It will allow the representation for substantial minorities. We have no fault to find with the system of P.R. being used.

Our reservations with the proposals are as follows: There is a distinct hint that future elections will not be conducted on the P.R. system. The reasons for this can be twofold, firstly the British Government wishes to find out if P.R. elections will produce the result they want secondly and as a sop to loyalist organisations who are opposed to P.R.

We welcome the ending of the Oath of Allegiance for those taking public office, and trust this will allow Sinn Fein and Republican Clubs to put forward candidates in the local Government Elections. We must point out however that the White Paper still leaves Sinn Fein as an illegal organisation (to be dealt with in more detail later) and as such their candidates are liable to prosecution. This we consider to be an impossible situation which must be rectified.

We recognise the reality of the fact that the formation of a local Assembly is in accordance with the wishes of the majority of the population of Northern Ireland and in accordance with the policies of both Governments and Oppositions in the Parliaments at London and Dublin. We recognise that it must be larger than the previous Parliament because of local Government reform.

However, despite all these apparent advances the question still remains, will they be of any use? The present position is that the Secretary of State is a Dictator in Northern Ireland, ruling through Order in Council.

Even when this new Assembly is elected, it will have no powers, and will have to negotiate its own powers which the Westminster Parliament will only grant at Westminster’s discretion. It is our opinion that the new Assembly will only be granted powers if the policy of the majority of its members is in line with British Government wishes. There is no evidence that such an Assembly will be elected. In fact plans are underway on the "loyalist" side, to make sure such an Assembly is not elected. Similarly if internment (under any name) continues, there is every likelihood that many elected members will refuse to sit while internment lasts.

On the question of the diminution of the powers of the Assembly regarding security, the police, courts and the franchise, our Association considers the policy adopted by these bodies as being the vital issue. We will deal with this in more detail later, but we consider that the prime policy for the law enforcement agencies has been to seek a military solution rather than a political one, using all forms of repression whether control was vested at Stormont or Westminster. We see no departure from this policy in the White Paper.

We consider that the question of reserved powers which the British Government is retaining should have been dealt with in the manner suggested in the NICRA Bill of Rights. (see later)


OUTLAWING OF DISCRIMINATION

The Government of Ireland Act contained provisions forbidding the passing of discriminatory legislation. "Despite this, religious and political discrimination existed", the new Bill will contain a similar clause. Fortunately the White Paper recognises that more is necessary than that. In fact after the Downing Street Declaration of 1969, an Ombudsman to investigate complaints against discrimination in government, without power to investigate matters within the province of the Ministry of Home Affairs, and a Commissioner of Complaints, to deal with allegations against discrimination in local government were appointed. These have proved largely ineffective, firstly because they are bureaucratic bodies, and secondly because only individuals can bring complaints, without the proper assistance of organisations or individuals specialising in these cases. Often these individuals are either incapable of proving their own case, or unwilling to go through the lengthy process.

We are disturbed at the generalised nature of the proposals for the Human Rights Charter, and a number of formulations in the White Paper give us considerable grounds for alarm.

Experience in other countries and particularly the working of the Ombudsman and Commissioner of Complaints leads us to state clearly that agencies established to prevent discrimination must be seen to give speedy and effective relief of grievances.

We agree with the preliminary findings of the Committee on Discrimination in Private Employment, but emphasise points we made to them on siting of industry, initially in areas of greatest need, and the training of apprentices and unskilled unemployed workers in these areas. We note Britain agrees to provide finance to bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the U.K. on matters of employment and housing. We welcome this while noting the wide discrepancy on these two matters within the United Kingdom.

The present violence and in particular the widespread intimidation and increasing polarisation of our people makes the fair distribution of jobs and houses extremely difficult.

More and more people are being forced into ghettoes and many people have been forced to leave their jobs, through intimidation.

There have been declarations in the past from the British Government on making capital available for the provision of jobs and housing. It has not materialised in sufficient quantity. We must emphasise the crucial nature of this need. A shortage of jobs and houses will create discrimination and unfair practices in any society, and their availability is the best guarantee that discrimination wilt end.

We consider the language in the section on human rights could mean all things to all men, and hope that when legislation comes in, the rights guaranteed will be very clearly spelled out, with strong enforcement bodies to grant speedy and effective relief.


OATHS OF ALLEGIANCE

We welcome the declaration that every person will have the right to peacefully advocate his beliefs and agree this also implies giving freedom to opponents also peacefully to advocate their views.

None the less this section contains clauses that seriously worry our Association. It is blandly stated that the individual is guaranteed protection in N.I. because the British Government is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It is well known because of the continuous existence of Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act 1922 the British Government has been forced to derogate from a number of European Conventions

This fact is not admitted in the White Paper. Nor is the fact that this undemocratic act has been permanently in force, whether there is an emergency or not.

Similarly there is an insistence that laws must be obeyed and the bodies enforcing these laws assisted, irrespective of whether the laws are evil and the enforcement bodies biased and corrupt. This was the defence put forward at the trial of war criminals at Nuremberg and quite rightly was rejected by the allies. There is a clear distinction between laws the individual personally disagrees with, but obeys as a good citizen and those which offend human rights conventions and are permanently in operation. We must reject this premise and will argue the matter further in a latter section. In particular we reject the statement that those opposing undemocratic laws in a non-violent manner should be denied the right to protection in a Human Rights Charter.

We welcome the ending of the Oath of Allegiance as a condition of Public employment except where it is used in Britain.

The NICRA has maintained for some years now that there is no military solution either in the short term or the long term to the problems of Northern Ireland. The White Paper clearly shows the British Government is expecting the British Army to defeat violence by military might and repression. We consider these tactics are actually worsening the situation.


REPRESSIVE LEGISLATION AND REDRESS AGAINST ARMY AND POLICE

The Bill of Rights supported by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association deals with the Special Powers Act (Civil Authorities Special Powers Act N.I. 1922) by the abolition of the Act and the substitution of clauses restraining any Northern Ireland Assembly from infringement of clearly defined civil liberties (See Bill of Rights). Defects in the Jury system would be rectified by extending the right to Jury service to all electors. The Jury system in Northern Ireland is on a property basis and acts against equity on lines of class and sex.

The White Paper calls for implementation of the proposals of the Diplock Commission which was appointed by William Whitelaw to consider ‘what arrangements for the administration of Justice in Northern Ireland could be make in order to deal more effectively with terrorist organisations, by bringing to book otherwise than by internment by the executive, individuals involved in Terrorist activities, particularly those who plan and direct, but do not necessarily take part in Terrorist Acts; and to make recommendations’.

In view of the restricted nature of the directive to the Commission no evidence was given by the NICRA. The Commission refused to consider any allegation of Terrorist activity by British Army or Police elements saying ‘they can be dealt with by criminal and civil proceedings in the courts against the offenders themselves’.

The Commission makes clear that they did not see anyone other than Administration Civil and Armed Services people in Northern Ireland.

To submit as the White Paper does (Para 58) that the report ‘conclusively shows’ anything is to fly in the face of fact.

Men and women are Interned in Northern Ireland by virtue of the Special Powers Act (section 11) under which they are arrested and by the Detention of Terrorists Order 1972 (N.l.).

Diplock despite his brief to bring in measures other than Internment recommends that the Detention of Terrorists Order and Internment be maintained.

Recommending granting Powers of Arrest to soldiers Diplock also includes nine Special Powers offences in his scheduled offences. Scheduled Offences (some 54 are listed) would be tried without Jury, Bail or other common law defences.

Cases quoted in support of conclusions have been challenged by ‘Civil Rights’ as inventions of the British Army propaganda Department.

Under this head Diplock argues in favour of what Lord Gardiner has described as the replacement of well tried legal methods of interrogation ‘by procedures which were secret, illegal, and not morally justifiable’. Diplock seeks the Post Facto legalisation of psychological Interrogation methods and the ambiguous wording of his recommendations would open the floodgates to legalised torture.

The detention of children is also urged and provisions for a special children's Internment centre provided.

Thus to counterpose the positive elements in the White Paper there is the promise of measures more draconian than the old Special Powers Act.

Northern Ireland has been ruled by Special Powers since its inception and the use of these Powers is and has been a basic cause of violence.

Diplock retains the Special Powers which classify membership of Sinn Fein as a crime. This is Political repression naked and unashamed.

The use of the Police to implement such laws is a basic cause of the rejection of the RUC as an acceptable Police Force. The British Army using the same laws attracts similar opposition.

Such powers are a corrupting influence on Police, Army, administration and the general public, only the removal of repressive legislation and the passing of positive protective laws for civil rights can rectify such attitudes and end conflict.

NICRA opposes Diplock and counterposes Civil Liberties as a positive response to the violence which is endemic in any area ruled by special powers.

The White Paper pays lip service to the UN Declaration on Human Rights and to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Britains actions in Northern Ireland contravene all the clauses in UN declaration.

Britain has deregated from section Five of the European Convention and violates article 6 by use of the Detention of Terrorists (N.l.) Order 1972.

Article 6 (1) ‘In determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an Independent and impartial tribunal established by law’.

6 (2) ‘Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty, according to law.’

Diplock recommends that article 6 (2) be reversed and the innocent presumed guilty until proved innocent. The onus of proof being on the accused.

To stand civil liberty on its head is to join an ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ flight from reality.

The Power to declare an emergency in Northern Ireland will rest with the Secretary of State and the Westminster Parliament. The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association has always campaigned on the basis that Westminster did rule Northern Ireland and only laws applicable to the U.K. should apply here. If the British Government is incapable of ending repression then the search for civil liberty will be directed elsewhere than to the ‘Mother of Parliaments’. We will press for the rejection of Diplock and an early declaration of an end to the Emergency.

In fact the sections in the White Paper, which we are most critical of are in this field. Our Association has always maintained that the existence and use of undemocratic legislation, even when there is no emergency actually aggravates the situation. In theory this legislation is aimed at those who advocate or use violence, or who have in the past done so. or may in the future do so. In fact, and particularly in the recent period, with some exceptions this legislation has been used directly against the Republican Movement and the section of the population who might support them, and have also been used against NICRA and its members.

The effect has been to deny members of Republican Clubs or Sinn Fein, any legal method of working, and made illegal all their actions, even an article in the Republican News advising parents to see that their children attended school ! It is our contention that people with Republican views must be free to organise politically and legally If the Government is serious about ending violence

Despite the massive body of public order legislation at the disposal of the Secretary of State, allegedly to combat the proliferation of private armies, at no time in our history have we had so many.

NICRA has continually called for a civilianised police force, acting within the framework of democratic laws, and freed from political partisanship. Such drastic surgery is necessary if the police force is ever to become acceptable to the whole community in Northern Ireland.

We welcomed the proposals of the Hunt Report as steps in the direction of creating a civilianised police force. Since then the general political climate and the various obstacles put in the way of its full implementation has further alienated the police from large sections of the community. There are no proposals to change this situation, or no suggestions as to when the Hunt Report could be fully implemented. We believe that the recommendations of the Hunt Report could still form the basis of policies to reorganise the police force, and should be incorporated in the settlement.

There are vague suggestions in the White Paper on some future involvement of N.l. people through the Police Authority. There is no plan as to how the ordinary police can be seen as genuine guardians of peace by all sections of the community, and no guarantees of genuine democratic local control by all sections of the community.

We welcome the establishment of a body to investigate complaints against individual policemen.

However at this present time the greatest volume of public complaints from all sides of the community is against members of the British Army. At present as is widely agreed, there is absolutely no machinery, (in our opinion by deliberate Government policy) for making complaints against the British Army. Complainants make statements to members of the RUC, after this these complaints are filed and no action is taken. It is impossible for ordinary people to identify by name individual soldiers guilty of misconduct and facilities for identifying them are refused.

It is our contention that misbehaviour of soldiers, condoned and covered up by the authorities is the greatest single cause for civilians supporting violent acts.

Any White Paper ignoring this fact is doomed to failure.

We see this White Paper, being inadequate to its task. There is a strong rebuff to those forces dedicated to restoring and strengthening the Orange Unionist system, a system which must be smashed forever, in the interests of all the people in Northern Ireland.

It is our contention that as at present stated and although minor victories have been won the Human Rights Charter does not go far enough.

It does not have enough teeth to make absolutely sure than the over-whelming majority of the population In Northern Ireland can unite behind

Certainly our Association does not feel that we can abandon agitation and mass participation In our campaign for civil rights and social justice.


INTERNATIONAL LAW AND THE WHITE PAPER

The United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, has accepted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and fundamental Freedoms; thus saith the Constitutional Proposals for Northern Ireland, page 25, paragraph 95. How true is this statement? What relation has it to the facts of life in Northern Ireland?

Britain derogated from Article 5 of the European convention in order to bring in Internment in August 1971.

Britain's Detention of Terrorists (Northern Ireland) 1972 under which men and women are kept in Prison and concentration Camp, conflicts with Article 6 of the European Convention. The proposed Diplock legislation will also contravene Article 6.

Article 6 (1). In the determination of his rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public Hearing within a reasonable time by an independent tribunal established by Law.

Article 6 (2). Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty, according to Law.

Article 6 (3). Everyone has the following minimum rights: To have adequate time and Facilities for the preparation of his defence; to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him.

Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 9. No one shall be subjected to Arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10 Everyone is entitled to, in full equality a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against against him.

Article 12. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary Interference with his privacy, family, home, or correspondance.

Britain in Northern Ireland breaks or contravenes all of these Articles and will be called to account at International Law for her acts and omissions In Northern Ireland.


A BILL OF RIGHTS

The White Paper envisages wide dictatorial powers being vested in the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for a long time to come. The Paper represents a recipe for a prolonged period of direct rule. NICRA is opposed to any continuation of direct rule. Direct rule was essentially a British solution imposed on the people of Northern Ireland in total disregard of their needs and aspirations. For fifty odd years the people of Northern Ireland were second class citizens in relation to the rest of the U.K. as regards the level of Civil Rights pertaining here. Direct rule has made us third class citizens. On top of the continuing denial of Civil Rights our laws now come through orders in Council without any adequate supervision by the Westminster Parliament.

NICRA has constantly called for watertight guarantees in the Civil Rights of every citizen of Northern Ireland. We believe that this guarantee of rights must be make by the British government and legislated for at Westminster in the form of a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland which would set the limits within which Northern Ireland political, legal, police and military action would take place. We will continue to demand:

1. That the Race Relations Act 1968 is extended to Northern Ireland and religious belief is added to race as a possible cause of discrimination dealt with by the Act.

2. (a) It shall not be an offence in N. Ireland to advocate or work in accordance with the law for the establishment of one Parliament for the whole of Ireland.

2 (b) Save as may be established by a statute of the Parliament at Westminster, it shall be illegal to administer in N. Ireland as a condition of public office or employment or in connection with any local or Parliamentary election, any oath or test that is repugnant to the conscience of any person wishing to advocate or work within the law for the establishment of a single Parliament for the whole of Ireland.

2. (c) It shall not be unlawful in N. Ireland for a person to describe himself as a Republican or to associate with other persons to work within the law for the propagation of Republican opinions.

3. It shall not be an offence within Northern Ireland to display the flags or emblems of countries in friendly relations with Her Majesty.

4 (i) In any General Election for the Assembly of Northern Ireland or its successor, the election shall be according to the principle of Proportional Representation, each elector having one transferable vote, as defined in subsection (ii)of this section, and each constituency shall return not fewer than four members.

(ii) (a) The expression ‘transferable vote’ means a vote - given so as to indicate the voter’s perference for the candidates in order,

(ii) (b) capable of being transferred to the next choice when the vote is not required to give a prior choice the necessary number of votes, or when, owing to the deficiency in the number of votes given to the prior choice, that choice is eliminated from the list of candidates.

(iii) Wherever the number of candidates contesting a by-election exceeds that of two, each elector shall have one transferable vote.

(iv) At any election of representatives of a local government area, the election shall be according to the principle of proportional representation, each elector having one transferable vote, as defined in subsection (ii) of this section, and each electoral area shall return not fewer than four representatives, and in any by-election in which the number of candidates exceeds two, each elector shall have one transferable vote.

(v) Her Majesty may by Order in Council prescribe the method of voting and transferring and counting votes at any election to which this section applies according to the principle of the transferable vote and for adapting the provisions of any Act relating to Assembly or local government elections and the duties of returning officers in connection therewith, but no recommendations shall be made to Her Majesty to make an Order under this sub-section unless a draft of the Order has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

5. (i) After the passing of this Act, the Assembly of Northern Ireland shall cease to have power to legislate in respect of the following matters.

(a) The suspension of Habeas Corpus

(b) The imprisonment, detention or internment of suspected persons without charge or trial; the denial of recourse to Habeas Corpus or to a Court of Law; or denial of the right to trial by jury;

(c) the physical or mental ill-treatment of suspected persons in the course of interrogation

(d) the entering and searching of private premises without the warrant of a Justice of the Peace;

(e) the stopping and searching of any person without the warrant of a Justice of the Peace

(f) the imposition of a curfew or the prohibition of the holding of meetings, assemblies, fairs, markets or any processions in public places except where necessary for the prevention of a breach of the peace

(g) the infliction on prisoners of flogging or other degrading forms of punishment

(h) the arrest of persons it is desired to examine as witnesses or the making of It an offence for any person to refuse to answer questions which may tend to incriminate him; or the laying of penalties upon persons who refuse to be sworn or to answer questions;

(i) the prevention access by relatives of legal advisers to persons held in custody;

(j) the imposition of mandatory sentences on persons found guilty of an offence;

(k) the creation of an offence in the possession of any newspaper, book, film, sound-recording or other publication, except where their possession or circulation constitute some offence by Statute or at Common Law, or when their circulation would be calculated to cause a breach of the peace;

(I) the holding of an inquest after the death of a person held in custody.

(m) the declaration of a state of emergency

(n) the arming or maintaining of any group of special constabulary;

(o) the appointment of members of the judiciary of Northern Ireland;

(p) the regulation of the election of jurors or the conduct of trials by jury;

 

Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act, 1922 of the Parliament of Northern Ireland, and all other legislation of the ParIiament of Northern Ireland repugnant to the provisions of this section shall be null and void.

2. A person taken into civil or military custody on suspicion d having committed an offence, shall be charged with the said offence as soon as it is practicable, brought before a Court of Law within 24 hours of the time of his arrest, and be permitted the access of his medical adviser upon his own request or that of a member of the legal profession acting on his behalf.

3. The Jury Panel lists in Northern Ireland shall be based on the Electoral Register.

4. In any cause in Northern Ireland for which a jury is empanelled the rights of the parties in respect of objections to Individual jurors shall be equal.


An almost similar Bill of Rights was thrown out of the Westminster Parliament when it was introduced by Mr. Arthur Latham in 1971. it represents a comprehensive protection of both the human and civil rights of every citizen in Northern Ireland. Anything less is totally inadequate to tackle the legacy of 50 years of Unionist misrule and create the basis for democratic non-sectarian politics.

The Charter of Human Rights with its generalised declarations does not come anywhere near the Bill of Rights as demanded by NICRA, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the British Trade Union Congress as well as large sections of the British Labour Party and political parties here in Northern Ireland.

Our Association will continue to press for this Bill as part of a just and honourable solution to the problems of our people.

 


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