NI Protocol: Amnesty International partisan over its interventions, says Jamie Bryson

Loyalist activist Jamie Bryson has accused Amnesty International of being politically partisan over its intervention in the Northern Ireland Protocol controversy.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 16th May 2022, 5:12 pm
Updated Monday, 16th May 2022, 5:52 pm

The human rights organisation warned Boris Johnson on Monday against unilaterally changing the post-Brexit trade deal that unionists oppose because it has decoupled the Province from the UK internal market.

Ahead of the prime minister’s visit to Belfast, Amnesty’s UK campaigns manager Grainne Teggart said the British government was on a “collision course with human rights and the rule of law” by threatening to make go-it-alone changes to the protocol.

“They must pull back – now – from this dangerous course of unilateral action on legacy and the protocol,” she said.

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Amnesty said the government was on a ‘dangerous course of unilateral action on legacy and the protocol’

Ms Teggart continued: “We remain concerned at the government’s approach to the protocol. Any unravelling of an international agreement between the UK and EU could threaten guarantees within the protocol, including essential human rights protections for people in Northern Ireland.”

She said Amnesty was also concerned at plans in the Queen’s Speech last week about Troubles legacy which the organisation believes are designed to “legislate for a de facto amnesty”.

She added: “It’s vital we don’t lose sight of what’s also fast coming down the tracks – plans to repeal the Human Rights Act would undermine the Good Friday Agreement and continue the clear and chilling pattern by this government of reducing our rights. The imminent plans to scrap and replace the Human Rights Act are further evidence of the clear intent to diminish the ability of the public to hold the government to account.”

The human rights group would be watching closely if warnings from victims’ organisations about a Troubles amnesty have been listened to, she said.

But Mr Bryson described Amnesty support for the protocol as “showing themselves up to be a partisan political organisation” and claimed the human rights group “represents only the concerns or views of the nationalist community”.

Mr Bryson said: “In addition their legal analysis operates from the principle of nationalist interpretations, basically meaning that nationalist interpretations of various agreements has supremacy, whether they are based in the text of such agreements or not.

“I call on Amnesty to meet with members of the loyalist community and explain why they are campaigning for a protocol which ‘subjugates’ our place in the Union and fundamentally undermines our rights – supposedly enshrined in the Belfast Agreement – as equal British citizens.”

He added: “Amnesty should stick to their own lane and stop allowing themselves to be used as a partisan political campaigning tool.”