Human Rights unite Northern Ireland
July 10, 2017
Polling published by the Human Rights Consortium shows massive public support for human rights in Northern Ireland.
The polling commissioned by the Consortium shows that public opinion in Northern Ireland is not only clearly in favour of human rights but that the public also see human rights as a tool to protect the vulnerable and make our society fairer. The polling which was conducted in 2o16 but only now published was part of an omnibus survey which asked members of the public to outline their levels of agreement with a series of questions and statements.
A short infographic below highlights some of the main findings:
Director of the Human Rights Consortium Kevin Hanratty welcomed the findings,
‘The results of the polling clearly articulate and evidence what many of us have known for years from similar polling and work across communities – that Human Rights unite Northern Ireland rather than divide it. Across religions, gender, age and other backgrounds the clear message is that people see human rights as something that adds strength and value to their lives. There was clear support for a renewed focus on human rights here and with current political discussions about human rights becoming bogged down these results show that our politicians could take a leaf out of the publics book. Clearly there is a public desire to utilise human rights as a mechanism to unite our community instead of divide it. The Consortium believes that opportunities such as a Bill of Rights could allow for everyones interests and rights to be protected and that parties should focus on a solution to taking that issue forward first and foremost.’
The Human Rights Consortium has drawn the following key conclusions from the landmark polling data:
- In contrast to perceptions about rights in other parts of the UK our polling results clearly evidence an extremely high level of support (84%) for human rights among the population of Northern Ireland.
- Rather than being an issue that divides the Northern Ireland population along traditional community lines, human rights are clearly a unifying issue in Northern Ireland with high levels of support across both Protestant (82%) and Catholic (87%) communities.
- Those polled clearly feel that having laws to protect human rights in Northern Ireland is a good idea (87%) but also that these laws should uphold International human rights standards (82%).
- The public of Northern Ireland make no distinction between who human rights should or should not apply to. Instead there is overwhelming support (90%) for the universality and equal application of human rights.
- The public strongly believe that human rights are important in creating a fairer society in Northern Ireland (87%), suggesting that the public conception of rights includes equality and social and economic issues.
- Whilst there is strong agreement that human rights protect the most vulnerable in our society (77%), those levels of agreement were slightly lower than for other questions. Suggesting that while people agreed with this principle they may feel less clear about whether this actually happens in reality. Suggesting further work needed to make this particular principle a reality.
- Contrary to negative media and political commentary in other parts of the UK the Human Rights Act enjoys massive public support here with 84% of the population believing it is good for Northern Ireland.
The polling was part of the Millward Brown Omnibus Survey carried out in August 2016. The sample consisted of 1016 respondents aged 16 and over carried out in face to face interviews. The more detailed polling results published by the Consortium are available to download below.