The Processes of the Unfinished Businesses of the Good Friday/ Belfast Agreement: An All-Island Charter of Rights and the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights
33 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 1, 2017
This article examines and contrasts the drafting processes of an all-island Charter of Rights and the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights. By way of background context for contrasting the respective drafting processes the article, drawing on both theory and practical examples, highlights the importance of process in both the drafting of Bills/Charters of Rights and constitution making. The article emphasises the need for a bottom-up approach and an underpinning of such a process with principles reflective of participatory democracy, including transparency, inclusiveness, public participation and responsiveness. Against this background context, the article compares the drafting processes of both the Bill of Rights and the all-island Charter, identifies polar opposite approaches by those charged with responsibility for oversight of the respective processes and sets out possible solutions. The article concludes that a renewed debate on both a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland and an island-wide Charter can play a vital and timely role in informing how best to protect and enhance human rights protections in a rapidly changing political landscape on the island.
Keywords: An All-Island Charter of Rights, The Northern Ireland Bill of Rights, drafting process, participatory democracy
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