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human rights, Brexit, oversight mechanisms, Northern Ireland Bill of Rights
The protections for rights and equality might be placed at the forefront of the EU/UK Withdrawal Agreement’s Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, but they have been overshadowed by debates over the Protocol’s trade provisions. This marginalisation of these elements of the Protocol is problematic. Rights and equalities protections have long been a contested aspect of Northern Ireland’s constitutional arrangements, and there is thus every possibility that the limits of these new arrangements will be tested upon their entry into force. Moreover, unlike the aspects of the Protocol relating to trade, which can ultimately be terminated by the Northern Ireland Assembly, the rights and equalities aspects of the Protocol will continue in force independent of such a vote. As such, these provisions could even be said to provide the kernel of an (uncodified) Northern Ireland Bill of Rights.