01/10/2001

RUC host international human rights conference

An international conference on human rights hosted by the Royal Ulster Constabulary began in Belfast on Monday.

The two-day conference in the Hilton Hotel marks the first anniversary of the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into domestic law.

The conference was opened by Chief Constable, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, which is examining the theme of ‘Human Rights and Policing’ through a programme of speeches, panel discussions and presentations.

At the conference he said: “The Human Rights Act 1998 came into force on 2nd October 2000. This conference provides an opportunity to mark its first anniversary and to demonstrate this police service's commitment to the fundamental rights and freedoms that it contains.

“The tensions in our society present unique policing challenges. By placing respect for human rights at the core of policing we seek to balance the often-conflicting interests of our diverse communities. It is our intention to provide effective policing whilst respecting the rights and freedoms of all. We see this as one and the same thing.

“We are committed to ensuring our officers are equipped to face the challenges of the Human Rights Act. I hope, that hosting this conference, will demonstrate our willingness to embrace this human rights based approach to policing.”

The two-day conference is chaired by Ralph Crawshaw, Fellow of the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex and Justice Donal Barrington, President of the Human Rights Commission in the Republic of Ireland.

Assistant Chief Constable Sam Kinkaid who organised the conference said: “The police service has sought to embrace the Human Rights Act 1998 in as positive a manner as possible. As stated in the ‘Patten Report’ we seek to adopt a human rights-based approach, which will address the philosophy of policing rather than mere lip service.

“This Conference has provided the opportunity for the police to show this commitment, not only to human rights, but also to working in partnership with the whole community.” (AMcE)

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