The Labour Party in NI believes in a shared society and culture - our approach is based on the Labour values of social justice, equality of opportunity, and rights matched with responsibilities.
We demand a future free from bullying and hate crimes - whether racist, directed against women, homophobic, transphobic, sectarian, or against people who are disabled, either physically or mentally.
We do not have the same rights and services as people living in other parts of the United Kingdom:
The NEC refuses us the right to stand Labour Party candidates in elections, so we cannot vote to elect a Labour Government – OUR Labour Government.
- Only 12 people have been successfully convicted for the 14,000 hate crimes reported in Northern Ireland in the last five years
- Over the last eight months there has been a 43 per cent rise in hate crime in NI. In West Belfast, the rate has risen by 70 per cent, while in East Belfast it has risen by 73 percent. Source
- In Belfast, a racially motivated offence takes place at least once a day on average. Source
- In 2014, 1313 racist incidents were reported to the PSNI – an average of up to three every day. Source
- In 2014 Northern Ireland’s DUP First Minister supported a preacher who branded Islam ‘satanic’
- While we welcome the publication of the Racial Equality Strategy Document 2014-24, we are concerned that it is much weaker than the previous Racial Equality Strategy and are concerned that, after eight years, Stormont still has not delivered a comprehensive Racial Equality Strategy.
The 1967 Abortion Act still does not apply to Northern Ireland.
Although abortion is legal in Northern Ireland, more than 95 per cent of women needing an abortion are stopped from having one.
Women are being refused an abortion, including when:
- they've been raped
- they've suffered incest
- they've been given a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality
- their health is at risk from the pregnancy. Source
Last year Justice Minister David Ford launched a consultation which strongly recommended legislation to allow an abortion in circumstances where there is no prospect of the foetus being delivered and having a viable life.
The consultation also covered sexual crimes, including rape and incest, but the Minister made no recommendation on the issue of termination in the case of sexual crimes.
In October 2014, a poll carried out in Northern Ireland by Millward Brown for Amnesty International found that seven in ten people here back abortion law reform. Once again, the people are ahead of the politicians. Source
The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) is seeking to legalise abortion in cases of serious foetal malformation, rape and incest.
NIHRC has claimed that the consultation paper on abortion, submitted to the Stormont Executive earlier this month, does not go far enough.
It said legal proceedings had been launched as a last resort.
The three-day judicial review hearing has included representations from the DOJ, the Catholic clergy and Sarah Ewart.
Former DUP Health Minister Edwin Poots instituted a lifetime ban on gay blood donation. In a court case in Belfast, the judge ruled that Poots’ decision was "irrational" and "infected with apparent bias". Source
Despite having no medical evidence on which to base the lifetime ban, Edwin Poots appealed the court’s decision, an appeal that was continued by Jim Wells.
Mr Wells revealed that £40,000 has so far been spent on legal fees challenging the ruling.
In April 2015, Jim Wells resigned as Health Minister after claiming children brought up by gay parents were more likely to be abused.
On 11 May DUP First Minister Peter Robinson appointed DUP MLA Simon Hamilton as his replacement. Source
DUP MLA Paul Givan’s private member’s bill to the Assembly attempts to introduce a conscience clause into equality law following legal action taken against a Christian-owned bakery.
We believe that introducing a religious conscience clause bill would substantially weaken protection against discrimination for the LGBTI community.
On 19 May 2015 Judge Isobel Brownlie found that the bakery, Ashers "unlawfully discriminated on the grounds of sexual orientation" after a landmark legal action at Belfast County Court. At the time of writing, Ashers are preparing to appeal this decision. Source
- Northern Ireland is the only region of the UK without equal marriage rights.
- Gay couples do not have the same adoption rights as in the rest of the UK.
- We have no Gender Recognition Act to allow transgender citizens to express their gender identity
- On 27 April 2015, a proposal to allow same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland was defeated in the Assembly by 49 votes to 47. Five MLAs from the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) failed to turn up for the vote and three MLAs from the Alliance Party abstained. Source
- We don’t have an Equality Act for Northern Ireland. Source
On 22 May Ireland voted by a huge majority to legalise same-sex marriage, becoming the first country in the world to do so by popular vote in a move hailed as a social revolution and welcomed around the world.
Some 62% of the Irish Republic’s electorate voted in favour of gay marriage. huge Yes vote marks another milestone in Ireland’s journey towards a more liberal, secular society.
- Disability law in Northern Ireland is still subject to the “Malcolm Decision”.
- There is insufficient positive and proactive rehabilitation in treatment and discharge plans in Northern Ireland’s notably under-resourced psychiatric system. Source
- In education, there are no rights to “auxiliary aids and services” for children with disabilities in the class room. The rest of the UK has those rights.
- The recent OFM/DFM Disability strategy barely mentions children with disability at all.
- Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are drastically under- funded resulting in children being inappropriately detained on adult psychiatric wards or taken to England or Scotland for treatment.
- We have the highest male suicide rate in the UK, particularly among men aged 24-29.
- The sectarian violence of past decades is linked to the mental health of Northern Ireland’s citizens: more depression, anxiety and suicide.
- While The Mental Health Discrimination Act (2013) abolishes ancient notions of exclusion of the mental health disabled from jury service for instance, there is little in the act to address discrimination within workplace cultures or in the job market. Source
- There is a lack of advocacy for people in NI with mental health disability, both in terms of legal aid within the justice system and in terms of possible detention orders under the powers of mental health legislation. Source
To tackle these issues we need a vigorous campaigning Labour Party. Yet the NEC denies people in Northern Ireland the right to vote for Labour Party candidates in all elections.
The Labour Party in NI believes in a shared society and culture - our approach is based on the Labour values of social justice, equality of opportunity, and rights matched...