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Session 16452: 1998-04-10 12:00:00

We have created this mini-model for Professor Christopher McCrudden's presentation to the Agreement 25 Conference at Queen's University, Belfast. It tracks how documents produced by various parties over a number of years contributed to a small section of text. By clicking on the document icon at the bottom of the timeline, you can see the text of the documents in their entirety and compare them to their 'ancestors'; when you click on the amendment icons above, you can see how they each propose to alter the text that eventually became the Human Rights section of the Good Friday Agreement. Nb: Since in this mini-model, as opposed to in our main projects, we are presenting only these documents rather than everything tabled during the course of a negotiation, we have decided to model them all in one session, using the date of the Agreement, so that the model is easier to navigate.

Northern Ireland Mini-Models

Evolution of the Human Rights Language in the Good Friday Agreement

Session 16452: 1998-04-10 12:00:00

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Joint Declaration: JD15B – 9 December 1993 (Annotated 13 December 1993)

There are 0 proposed amendments related to this document on which decisions have not been taken.

1. The Taoiseach and the Prime Minister acknowledge that the most urgent and important issue facing the people of Ireland, North and South, and the British and Irish Governments together, is to remove the causes of conflict, to overcome the legacy of history and to heal the divisions which have resulted, recognising that the absence of a lasting and satisfactory settlement of relationships between the peoples of both islands has contributed to continuing tragedy and suffering. [Marginal annotation – Rhetorical opening drawing on many previous statements of both governments' position.] They believe that the development of an agreed framework for peace, which has been discussed between them since early last year, and which is based on a number of key principles articulated by the two Governments over the past 20 years, together with the adaptation of other widely accepted principles, provides the starting point of a peace process designed to culminate in a political settlement. [Marginal annotation – 'Key principles ...' For HMG the constitutional guarantee and consent formula, as well as recognition of the need for 'parity of esteem' for both traditions.]

2. The Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister are convinced of the inestimable value to both their peoples, and particularly for the next generation, of healing divisions in Ireland and of ending a conflict which has been so manifestly to the detriment of all. Both recognise that the ending of divisions can come about only through the agreement and co-operation of the people, North and South, representing both traditions in Ireland. They therefore make a solemn commitment to promote co-operation [Marginal annotation – 'Promote co-operation ...' Restates the existing position, for example, as partners in the EU and under the Anglo-Irish Agreement.] at all levels on the basis of the fundamental principles, undertakings, obligations under international agreements, to which they have jointly committed themselves, and the guarantees which each Government has given [British amendment – and now reaffirms], including Northern Ireland's statutory constitutional guarantee. [Marginal annotation – The Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973 sl.] It is their aim to foster agreement and reconciliation, leading to a new political framework founded on consent and encompassing arrangements within Northern Ireland, for the whole island, and between these islands. [Marginal annotation – 'agreement ... leading to a new political framework' ... resulting from the Talks process. This is Talks language.]

3. They also consider that the development of Europe will, of itself, require new approaches to serve interests common to both parts of [British amendment – the island of] Ireland and to Ireland and the United Kingdom as partners in the European Union.

4. [British amendment – The Prime Minister reaffirms, on behalf of the British Government, that they will uphold the democratic wishes of the greater number of the people of Northern Ireland, whether they prefer to uphold the Union or to support a sovereign united Ireland. On this basis he reiterates that the British Government have no selfish strategic or economic interest in Northern Ireland.] [Marginal annotation – ' selfish or strategic interest...' – originally in Peter Brooke's 'British presence' speech, NN 1990.] Consistent with this, their primary interest is to see peace, stability and reconciliation established by agreement among all the people who inhabit the island, and they will work together with the Irish Government to achieve such an agreement, which will embrace the totality of relationships. [Marginal annotation – 'agreement...', again through the Talks process.] The role of the British Government will be to encourage [British deletion] [Irish amendment (i) – facilitate] and enable the achievement of such agreement over a period through a process of dialogue and co-operation based on full respect for the rights and identities of both traditions in Ireland. [Marginal annotation – Broadly Article 1c of Anglo-Irish Agreement.] They accept that such agreement may, as of right, take the form of agreed structures for the island as a whole, [Irish amendment (ii) – including a united Ireland achieved by peaceful means OR (iii) – achieved by peaceful means and through agreement between North and South respectively. If (iii), delete also later words in square brackets.] [Marginal annotation – 'agreed structures...' resulting from Talks could include such things as Tourism. This is Strand 2 business, but Irish may read as referring to a united Ireland.] The British Government agree that it is for the people of the island of Ireland alone, [by agreement between the two parts respectively,] to exercise their right of self-determination on the basis of consent, freely and concurrently given, North and South, to bring about a united Ireland, if that is their wish. They reaffirm as a binding obligation that they will, for their part, introduce the necessary legislation to give effect to this, or [British amendment – equally] to any measure of agreement on future relationships in Ireland which the people living in Ireland may themselves [British amendment – so] freely determine without external impediment [British deletion]. [Marginal annotation – Restates Anglo-Irish Agreement commitment.] They believe that the people of Britain would wish, in friendship to all sides, to enable the people of Ireland to reach agreement on how they may live together in harmony and in partnership, with respect for their diverse traditions and with full recognition of the special links and the unique relationship which exist between the people of Britain and Ireland.

5. The Taoiseach, on behalf of the Irish Government, considers that the lessons of Irish history, and especially of Northern Ireland, show that stability and well-being will not be found under any political system which is refused allegiance or rejected on grounds of identity by a significant minority of those governed by it. For this reason, it would be wrong to attempt to impose a united Ireland, in the absence of the freely given consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland. He accepts, on behalf of the Irish Government, that the democratic right of self-determination by the people of Ireland as a whole must be achieved and exercised with and subject to the agreement and consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland and must, consistent with justice and equity, respect the democratic dignity and the civil rights and religious liberties of both communities. [Irish amendment – These rights would include in particular the "Magee list": to be provided on Monday.] [Marginal annotation – The 'Magee list intended to list specific rights to reassure unionists.] These would be reflected in any future political and constitutional arrangements emerging from a new and more broadly based agreement. [Marginal annotation – Talks language.]

[Marginal annotation – This, and paras 7 and 8, drafted to incorporate suggestions from Archbishop Eames to make the JD more acceptable to Unionists.] 6. The Taoiseach however recognises the genuine difficulties and barriers to building relationships of trust either within or beyond Northern Ireland, from which both traditions suffer. He will work to create a new era of trust, in which suspicions of the motives or actions of others is removed on the part of either community. He considers that the future of the island depends on the nature of the relationship between the two main traditions that inhabit it. Every effort must be made to build a new sense of trust between those communities. In recognition of the fears of the Unionist community and as a token of his willingness to make a personal contribution to the building up of that necessary trust, the Taoiseach will examine with his colleagues any elements in the democratic life and organisation of the Irish State that can be represented to the Irish Government in the course of political dialogue as a real and substantial threat to their way of life and ethos, or that can be represented as not being fully consistent with a modern democratic and pluralist society, and undertakes to examine any possible ways of removing such obstacles. Such an examination would of course have due regard to the desire to preserve those inherited values that are largely shared throughout the island or that belong to the cultural and historical roots of the people of this island in all their diversity. The Taoiseach hopes that over time a meeting of hearts and minds will develop, which will bring all the people of Ireland together, and will work towards that objective, but he pledges in the meantime that as a result of the efforts that will be made to build mutual confidence no Northern Unionist should ever have to fear in future that this ideal will be pursued either by threat or coercion.

7. Both Governments accept that Irish unity would be achieved only by those who favour this outcome persuading those who do not, peacefully and without coercion or violence, and that, if in the future a majority of the people of Northern Ireland are so persuaded both Governments will support and give legislative effect to their wish. [Marginal annotation – This does not commit HMG to join the ranks of the persuaders. But it goes further than the Anglo-Irish Agreement.] But notwithstanding the solemn affirmation by both Governments in the Anglo-Irish Agreement that any change in the status of Northern Ireland would only come about with the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland, the Taoiseach also recognises the continuing uncertainties and misgivings which dominate so much of Northern Unionist attitudes towards the rest of Ireland. He believes that we stand at a stage of our history when the genuine feelings of all traditions in the North must be recognised and acknowledged. He appeals to both traditions at this time to grasp the opportunity for a fresh start and a new beginning, which could hold such promise for all our lives and the generations to come. He asks the people of Northern Ireland to look on the people of the Republic as friends, who share their grief and shame over all the suffering of the last quarter of a century, and who want to develop the best possible relationship with them, a relationship in which trust and new understanding can flourish and grow. The Taoiseach also acknowledges the presence in the Constitution of the Republic of elements which are deeply resented by Northern Unionists, but which at the same time reflect hopes and ideals which lie deep in the hearts of many Irish men and women North and South. But as we move towards a new era of understanding in which new relationships of trust may grow and bring peace to the island of Ireland, the Taoiseach believes that the time has come to consider together how best the hopes and identities of all can be expressed in more balanced ways, which no longer engender division and the lack of trust to which he has referred. He confirms that, in the event of an overall settlement, the Irish Government will, as part of a balanced constitutional accommodation, put forward and support proposals for change in the Irish Constitution which would fully reflect the principle of consent in Northern Ireland. [Marginal annotation – A (loose) commitment to consider Articles 2 and 3 in the context of an overall settlement (presumably) reached through the Talks process. 'put forward and support proposals...' is, though, more advanced language than previously used by the Irish.]

8. The Taoiseach recognises the need to engage in dialogue, which would address with honesty and integrity the fears of all traditions. [Marginal annotation – 'dialogue...' would take any number of forms. HMG believes this can be the Talks process.] But that dialogue, both within the North and between the people and their representatives of both parts of Ireland, must be entered into with an acknowledgement that the future security and welfare of the people of the island will depend on an open, frank and balanced approach to all the problems which for too long have caused division.

9. The British and Irish Governments will seek, along with the Northern Ireland constitutional parties through a process of political dialogue, to create institutions and structures, which, while respecting the diversity of the people of Ireland, would enable them to work together in all areas of common interest. [Marginal annotation – Again, this could take a number of forms, but Talks will be important.] This will help over a period to build the trust necessary to end past divisions, leading to an agreed and peaceful future. Such structures would, of course, include institutional recognition of the special links that exist between the peoples of Britain and Ireland as part of the totality of relationships, while taking account of newly forged links with the rest of Europe. [Marginal annotation – 'structures...' established as part of an overall settlement. Would be based on the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Council (AIIC), the Intergovernmental Conference (under Anglo-Irish Agreement) (IGC), the British-Irish Interparliamentary Body (BIIPB) etc.]

*10. The British and Irish Governments reiterate that [Irish amendment – true commitment to the cause of peace will be demonstrated on all sides by a complete and permanent cessation of violence.] Once such a renunciation of violence had been made and sufficiently demonstrated, new doors would open and both Governments would respond imaginatively to the new situation which would arise. The Prime Minister and the Taoiseach confirm that, on this basis, [Irish deletion] Sinn Fein [Irish amendment – would be free to] participate fully in democratic politics and in due course join in dialogue between the Governments and the other political parties on the way ahead. The British Government confirm that they would be prepared to enter preliminary exploratory dialogue with Sinn Fein [British deletion] three months after a permanent cessation of [Irish deletion] violence had been announced and established. The Irish Government would also make [British amendment – their own] arrangements which would permit Sinn Fein to enter into political dialogue.

[Irish amendment – 11. The Taoiseach and the Prime Minister are determined to build on the present wish of both their peoples to see old fears and animosities replaces by a climate of peace. They believe the framework they have set out offers all the people of Ireland whatever their tradition, a basis to agree that from now on their differences can be negotiated and resolved exclusively by peaceful political means. They appeal to all concerned to grasp the opportunity for a new departure. That step would compromise no position or principle nor prejudice the future for either community. On the contrary, it would be an incomparable gain for all. It would break decisively the cycle of violence and the intolerable suffering it entails, particularly for both communities in Northern Ireland. It would allow the process of economic and social co-operation on the island to realise its full potential for prosperity and mutual understanding. It would transform the prospects for early negotiations in which all could participate to shape new arrangements for the future.]


Paragraphs about the Irish Convention have been removed.

*Previously paragraph 12

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