European Union developments in Equality and Human Rights: The Impact of Brexit on the divergence of rights and best practice on the island of Ireland

Sarah Craig, Anurag Deb, Eleni Frantziou, Alexander Horne, Colin Murray, Clare Rice, Jane Rooney

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Abstract

This report was commissioned by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
(ECNI). This paper was written by Sarah Craig, Anurag Deb, Eleni Frantziou,
Alexander Horne, Colin Murray, Clare Rice and Jane Rooney for the Equality
Commission for Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

Report finalised on 30 April 2022.

Funded by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.

Article 2 of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, contained within the Withdrawal Agreement concluded between the United Kingdom and the European Union, outlines a commitment to non-diminution of rights in Northern Ireland post Brexit. This commitment is underpinned by the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement 1998 and its provisions on Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity, which saw these elements as integral to creating the necessary conditions for facilitating peace in Northern Ireland in the wake of conflict. That the United Kingdom and European Union constructed Article 2 on this basis is reflective of the emphasis that was placed on the 1998 Agreement in the Brexit negotiations and assertions that the Agreement must be upheld in any deal between the two sides. The expansive yet ambiguous framing of the 1998 provisions, while politically sufficient at the time of agreement, have acquired a legal significance in the wake of Brexit. Article 2 represents a reaffirmation of commitment to the 1998 provisions, while simultaneously demanding clarity in the relationship between domestic and European Union law, and obligating an ongoing monitoring process of this post-Brexit.
Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyEquality Commission for Northern Ireland
Number of pages140
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 12 Apr 2023

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