Securing a Bill of Rights
Resource type: Grantee Story
The 1998 Belfast Agreement stressed the centrality of protecting human rights to building a better future for Northern Ireland. The Agreement made explicit commitments to producing a Bill of Rights (BOR) for Northern Ireland. This process of achieving a Bill has been beset with political arguments and foot dragging. The Human Rights Consortium, which is made up of over 100 civil society organisations, has been campaigning for a strong and effective Bill of Rights since it was established in 2000. Through this time, the Consortium has organised numerous high profile events, published information and briefing materials, conducted and commissioned research and organised a series of publications and education activities across Northern Ireland.
Purpose and Impact of the Grant
The need for civil society mobilisation on the Bill of Rights has never been greater, especially in view of recent developments towards establishing a Roundtable Forum between civil society and political parties on the Bill of Rights. This investment will enable the Consortium to implement a comprehensive strategy towards achieving a strong and effective Bill of Rights. The strategy will focus on increasing the advocacy and lobbying capacity of civil society organisations and it will be underpinned by localised and sectoral campaigning and communications.
The grant will produce impacts that are not only relevant to achieving an effective Bill of Rights but which also strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations in coalition building, advocacy, communications and lobbying. Critically, it will result in:
- Increased awareness of the Bill of Rights process
- More localised and diverse activity in support of a Bill of Rights
- Influential players lending support to the Bill of Rights debate
- Stronger organisations, communications and lobbying skills in consortium organisations around Bill of Rights
- Civil society strengthened and better prepared to use advocacy, communications and grassroots mobilization to foster social change
- People using a Bill of Rights to assert rights and improve access to justice.