HRC 'SET UP TO FAIL'
Another member of the Human Rights Commission has resigned,
claiming the body's failure may have been orchestrated by the
Patricia Kelly, who has been a commission member since 1999
despite a prolonged state of crisis, also accused the British
government of sending out a message that it "is content with the
mess the Human Rights Commission is in".
Ms Kelly's resignation is the seventh departure from the
commission, leaving only a rump of its unlucky original 13
It was one of the most prominent organisations born out of the
1998 Good Friday Agreement and had been a particular ambition of
the most bitter split came over the commission's link to a legal
case relating to the loyalist protest at Holy Cross Girls'
School in 2001.
The head of the commission was seen to be lending private
support to the PSNI police at a time when Catholic schoolgirls
and their parents were allowed to endure a gauntlet of sectarian
abuse and violence.
In the wake of the resignations, the commission drafted an
'Action Plan', aimed at underlining its independence.
Ironically, a leaked memo showed that the British government
helped in the drafting the plan.
Ms Kelly also expressed concern at job advertisements recently
issued in connection with the formation of the 'revamped'
She said the new chief commissioner's post had been advertised
as a possible part-time job.
"They (the adverts) are ambiguous about the number of
commissioners to be recruited. It is not clear that the new
commissioners are to have human rights experience prior to
appointment but they say they can get it after they are
appointed," she said.
"This flies in the face of what the Parliamentary committee
recommended. Is this a downgrading of the commission?"
Ms Kelly said she had been "very frustrated" by the way the
commission operated in general.
"Decisions were never acted on. There were consistent failures
to record accurately commission meetings," she added.
Nationalist representatives have called for new structures to
restore confidence in the commission.
Mr Adams said the resignation was the latest in a series of
events which underlined a failure by the British government to
properly establish the Human Rights Commission, as envisaged
under the Good Friday Agreement.
"The current Human Rights Commission has been discredited due to
its approach on human rights and equality issues," he said.
He also called for clarification on the government's intentions
for additional powers to be given to a new commission.
"These are matters which Sinn Fein has consistently raised with
the British government," he said.
"The British government must provide the necessary assurances
that these legitimate concerns will be acted upon. The British
government must demonstrate its commitment to human rights by
acting on these concerns."