Well I'm still in Belfast and it's still raining here.
Work at the Committee on the Administration of Justice is going very well. I continue to feel very welcome here and am pleased to be given interesting projects.
Here's a bit on my work:
As I think many people are aware, there is a new coaltition government between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats which has created a bit of an ideological mess in that the two parties have very different views on very many topics. Human rights work is intimately tied-up in politics and so we've begun to feel the effects of changing political times. There was a suggestion in the recent Northern Ireland Office consultation on a Bill of Rights that the Bill could transform into a chapter in a wider UK/British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities being discussed now in Britain. Turns out this suggestion has become a much stronger possibility with the new government now in place. Due to this, my job and the focus of my work has shifted a bit in the past week or so to focus on countering any push to consolidate the Bill of RIghts for Northern Ireland to supplement the implementation of the ECHR (through the Human Rights Act). The Bill of Rights should be predicated on the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland. It was meant to be a Bill to address the past conflict and provide for a safe and secure future for those in Northern Irelnad. The discussion and process of building a Bill of Rights has been going on for ten years in NI with high levels of civic participation, especially in the last few yerars. The special genesis of the Bill of RIghts in the peace agreement and the work of those who have particpated in repeated efforts to draft the Bill would all be lost if it came down to a chapter in a UK Bill. This is the current state of affairs and the tinge that my work has and will, for the next week and a half that I'll be here, take on.
Additionally, in the next few days I'll resume assisting in writing an article about what lessons learned from the Trouble's for Britain's policy of internment in the War on Terror. Really exciting topic!
On a lighter note- It's still awesome living here in Belfast. Belfast is known for its summer festivals and teh first big one started last week called 'Feile an Phobail' (Festival of the People). It has music, movies, storytelling, tours, exhibitions and much more. I've already been to a wonderful concert (Damien Dempsey) and I won't say much about it other than you don't get the kind of personal space at a sold-out concert in NYC as you do here! So great to have music AND room to dance! I'll be attending a political panel tonight which may have some heated discussions and tomorrow I'll attend a lunch seminar on Bloody Sunday and the Saville report (which I mentioned in an earlier post). Ill be heading down to Newcastle this weekend for a small trip if the wheather holds out (knock on wood).
hings are great here- I'm including some pictures of Belfast, Derry, and a bit up the coast.