From 1 January 2021, the Equality Commission and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission acquired new functions to monitor, advise, report on, and enforce the UK Government’s commitment under Article 2(1) of the Protocol to ensure that there is no diminution of the rights, safeguards and equality of opportunity provisions, as set out in that chapter of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement (‘BGFA’), as a result of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.
The Dedicated Mechanism refers to the work of both Commissions in monitoring, advising, reporting on and enforcing these obligations under Article 2(1) of the Protocol. Everyone who is protected by NI law is covered by this commitment irrespective of whether the law has been passed by the NI Assembly or the UK Parliament.
The Protocol recognises that EU law has provided a ‘supporting framework’ for the rights, safeguards and equality of opportunity protections in the BGFA. Under the Protocol, the UK Government commits to ensuring that certain rights, safeguards and equality of opportunity protections are not diminished as a result of the UK leaving the EU.
This session, with input jointly from the Commissions, will cover when Article 2 of the Protocol is engaged and in what circumstances individuals can invoke the protected rights before the UK courts.