Sinn Féin Waterside representative Sharon McLaughlin has said now is the time for a renewed debate on a Bill of Rights for the north.
She was speaking after the Equality Commission in the north called on the UN to hold the British Government to account for its lack of progress in protecting and extending equality for women in the north.
Sharon McLaughlin said:
“The submission by the Equality Commission highlights a number of issues that need to be addressed and given the current situation with Brexit it highlights the need for a Bill of Rights to protect citizens.
“No group in our society will be untouched by Brexit but women will be among those most disproportionately impacted in terms of gender equality, employment legislation, children’s rights, family disputes, domestic violence, access to healthcare and the possible implications of a Brexit border.
“It is vitally important the voice of women is heard in Europe around Brexit, the backstop must be maintained.
“Young girls need to be able to see positive role models in political life, public life, STEM fields and economic decision-making roles generally.
“Everyone in a leadership role, in politics, business, academia and civic society, has a responsibility to address gender equality and reduce barriers to participation by women.
“It is important that all employers are committed to equality and work for the elimination of unlawful discrimination at their place of work, public bodies should promote equality across a range of categories including age religion, gender, and ethnicity.
“I would encourage all businesses/employers in the Derry and Strabane areas to provide equality training to all employees on existing anti-discrimination laws including age discrimination legislation.
“The British and Irish Governments have a responsibility, as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement, to address this outstanding matter of the Agreement. The UN committee’s also has a duty to hold governments to account for the commitments they have made under the convention.
“Sinn Féin believes now is the time for a renewed debate on a Bill of Rights for the north.”