The Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) is a thirty year old independent human rights organisation based in Ireland whose reputation earned it the 1998 European Human Rights Prize from the forty-seven nation Council of Europe. Its long record of investigating and cataloguing human rights abuses in the British-administered North of Ireland has gained it respect and admiration from civil rights activists and jurists around the world. So when it expresses grave concerns about so-called equality legislation in the north-east of Ireland, especially as it relates to the work of the publicly-funded Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI), the global human rights community sits up and pays attention.
Of particular note is CAJ’s contention that the removal of institutional discrimination against Irish-speaking citizens and communities in the North of Ireland has been abandoned by the British state in order to assuage the racist attitudes of a militant anglophone minority within the region’s British Unionist community. Using evidence from a number of studies and reports by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts (COMEX), which monitors compliance with the Council’s Charter for Regional and Minority Languages, and the treaty body which administers the Framework Convention for National Minorities (FCNM) the investigators from CAJ have compiled a document tilted “Unequal Relations” which lays out in detail the proof of continued bigotry within local and regional public services and government in the north-east.
It also draws attention to the findings by several international bodies that the Irish-Scots or Ulster-Scots dialect of English is being cynically employed by Unionists in the north of the Ireland to block any progress in granting equal rights to Irish-speakers with their English-speaking peers (something long suspected by the Irish-speaking community after a research team from the EU was unable to find a single native “Ulster-Scots” speaker during a investigative trip to the region).
The Detail has a longer report on the new study by CAJ.