The Belfast Agreement acknowledges the importance of protecting rights and securing equality of opportunity for all persons throughout the island of Ireland. However, structural and deeply-embedded inequalities continue to affect everyday life north and south of the border. The Agreement requires the Republic of Ireland to provide an equivalent level of protection for human rights as applies in Northern Ireland. This 'equivalence' requirement should have made it possible for a process of cross-border learning to take place, and for a serious debate to be opened up north and south of the border as to how best to combat the deeply embedded patterns of inequality that disfigure both societies. However, that opportunity was wasted. In microcosm, this shows both how potentially transformative of everyday life the Agreement could be, and also how this potential remains mired in neglect.
Keywords: Equivalence; Equality; Discrimination; Human Rights; Belfast Agreement
Chapter. 6602 words.
Subjects: Comparative Politics
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