Julie James AM, Leader of the House and Chief Whip
 CC Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister; and
 Mark Drakeford AM, Cabinet Secretary for Finance

12 December 2017

Dear Julie

Inquiry into human rights in Wales

You will be aware that the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee is undertaking an inquiry into human rights in Wales. Since beginning the inquiry, the Committee has narrowed the scope to focus on the impact of Brexit on human rights.

At its meeting on 19 October, the Committee discussed the Brexit negotiations and heard from Rebecca Hilsenrath, the Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The Committee agreed a set of core principles that we consider should be adhered to during the Brexit process in relation to human rights and equality. We will monitor progress against these principles and will be looking for opportunities to work with our counterpart parliamentary committees across the UK on these issues.

The core principles are that:

-     there should be no regression in human rights and equality protections as a result of Brexit;

-     Wales should establish a formal mechanism to track future developments in human rights and equality in the EU to ensure that Welsh citizens benefit from the same level of protection as EU citizens; and

-     Wales should continue to be a global leader in human rights, and commit to bringing forward legislation to fill any gaps in rights and protection if the UK Government does not do so (where possible).

We are of the view that the Charter of Fundamental Rights must be preserved in some form after withdrawal from the EU. We welcome the statement made by the First Minister on 24 October supporting the efforts to ensure that the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill continues to respect the Charter after Brexit.  We also welcome the UK Government’s commitment to publish the analysis of how Charter rights will be protected after the UK leaves the EU.

To help inform our work, we would be grateful if you could provide:

-     any analysis that is available on the current levels EU funding that currently fund projects relating to human rights in Wales;

-     information on the work done to date to consider alternative sources of funding for these projects;

-     an update on negotiations with the UK Government, particularly relating to human rights and equality; and

-     information on any discussions you have had with the EU about the protection of human rights during and after Brexit.

We have also written to the UK Government, and our counterpart committees across the UK on this matter.

We look forward to hearing from you and would be grateful for a response by Friday 26 January 2018.

Yours sincerely

John Griffiths AM
Chair

Croesewir gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg neu Saesneg.

We welcome correspondence in Welsh or English.